2016 Kabaddi World Cup :: India square-off against Iran in a clash of the kabaddi titans - News

India square-off against Iran in a clash of the kabaddi titans

22 October 2016

The final match of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup is here and it will be a clash of the titans – India versus Iran. Many predicted this game to be the summit clash before the tournament began and has all the makings of a blockbuster. Both teams reached the final in contrasting styles as Iran overcame Republic of Korea 28-22 in a tight match while India pummelled Thailand into submission by a big 73-20 margin.

We take a closer look at both finalists before the match gets underway on October 22 at The Arena, Ahmedabad:

Power-packed Iran

Iran have played well within themselves throughout the tournament and there were doubts prior to their semi-final encounter against Republic of Korea on their ability to rise to the occasion. Meraj Sheykh and his men put all those doubts to rest with a fine performance in what was by no means, an easy match against the Koreans.

Iran are called heavyweights in the world of kabaddi for a good reason. They are skilful, disciplined and tactically sound. Their defence with the likes of Fazel Atrachali, Soleiman Pahlevani and Abozar Mighani can be a frightening proposition to any team. Sheykh is an extremely skilful raider himself and has some fine raiders in Mohsen Maghsoudloujafari and Mohammadesmaeil Maghsoudloumahalli.

The Iranian defence must be precise as the Indian raiders bring a tremendous amount of skill to the mat. It will be a huge test for Atrachali and Co. as their defensive prowess will be put under severe pressure. They must improve on their raiding too as they have tended to play a lot on do-or-die raids and this tactic may not necessarily be effective against the Indians.

Explosive India

Thailand seemed to have been stuck by lightning as the Indians blitzed them in their semi-final. The Thais had proved to be tricky opponents so far and possessed the ability to trouble the hosts. But India put in a brilliant performance, worthy of the favourites’ tag to storm into the final.

India have played with flair and freedom, recovering from the opening-day loss to the Koreans with a vengeance. Ajay Thakur and Pardeep Narwal have been explosive while raiding as captain Anup Kumar has let them take the initiative. The duo has been extremely effective at unsettling opposition defences almost nonchalantly. The defence too has looked very tight with the trio of Manjeet Chhillar, Surender Nada and Surjeet performing brilliantly. India are blessed with tremendous strength and experience on the bench prompting many to proclaim this side as a ‘Dream Team’.

To live up to that name, India has to get past a powerful Iran side. They are canny raiders and possess an uncompromising defence. India’s raiders, often termed as ‘escape artists’ by commentators, need to be at their very best to get away from the clutches of Iran.

Overall, the India-Iran clash promises to be an engrossing one and will provide a fitting finale to an action-packed tournament. Coverage starts 19:45 IST on the Star network and hotstar.