2016 Kabaddi World Cup :: In-form India will be wary of Thai threat - News

In-form India will be wary of Thai threat

21 October 2016

The second semi-final of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup will be played between India and Thailand. This match, scheduled to begin at 21:00 IST, will kick off after the Republic of Korea-Iran semi-final on Friday, October 21. Hosts India will be buoyed by a vocal home support and will be the favourites. But Thailand have proved their mettle by topping Group B and are capable of pulling off an upset.

Ahead of the big game, let’s take a look at what’s in store…

India playing like favourites

The opening-day upset at the hands of Republic of Korea only seemed to have spurred the Indian team to up the ante further. Four straight, emphatic wins came on the back of that loss and any doubts regarding India’s game have simply vanished.

India have topped the team charts for overall points and raid points. Only Kenya are ahead of them in terms of most tackle points. India also have the highest number of successful raids and tackles in the tournament. Ajay Thakur and Pardeep Narwal have consistently troubled opposition defences and feature in the top 10 for most raid points scored, with 41 and 33 respectively. The defensive trio of Manjeet Chhillar, Surjeet and Surender Nada feature in the top 10 for most tackle points. Apart from them, captain Anup Kumar has been ever dependable and newcomer Sandeep Narwal too has impressed.

As a team, India have proved to be the team to beat and if they play to their potential, it would be extremely difficult to stop them. However, they must guard against complacency and should aim to do better in tight situations, like the one encountered against the Koreans.

Terrific Thailand

Like India, Thailand too began with a loss as they were absolutely plastered by Iran. They too got their act together with terrific wins over United States of America, Kenya, Poland and sealed their place in the last four with a thrilling victory over a fighting Japan.

Thai captain Khomsan Thongkham has been inspirational throughout, standing up to be counted when his team needs him the most. He is the top raider in the tournament with 53 raid points while the wily Tin Phonchoo features in the top 10 for most tackle points scored. Khunakon Chanjaroen has been effective at both attack and defence, with his quick pursuits having taken teams by surprise. The Thais too play very well as a team, possessing a strong character and sense of discipline. India’s Ajay Thakur has even singled out Thongkham for praise, saying that he will be the player to focus on in their match.

Thailand will face an acid test as they go up against a formidable Indian side. It will be imperative that they believe in themselves and beating India will certainly mean a lot to them.

You can catch the semi-final action LIVE on the Star network and hotstar. And to know more about the teams’ road to the semis, head to our Features section.