While the country is focussed on the World Cup final, India created basketball history at the Wuhan SC on Sunday beating China 65-58 in a Group A game of the 5th FIBA Asia Cup for their first ever win over the mighty and more fancied rivals providing a new twist to the proceedings of the Prelim Round.
India went into the game as underdogs and China obviously the overwhelming favourites especially after their superb win against Iran on Saturday, but things on court were a complete contrast.
China began the scoring for the game, but it was India all the way after that for the entire first half with their show all-round attack. Thus for the first time in the history, India went into the locker room ahead of their mighty rivals, having led by as many as 15 points at one stage in the second quarter.
That lead felt threatened when the hosts returned refreshed and seemingly regained in their composure, but the Indian team seemed to have found an answer to every question China posed. And when they put forward their own posers there were very little in way of reaction or reply from China.
Pratham Singh and Amjyot Singh shared the scoring honors for India with 13 points apiece and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi the bulwark of the Indian campaign added 10 points.
Gao Shang and Zhou Qi were at the forefront of the Chinese cause with a dozen points each.
Neither team found words to describe their plight – India excited beyond expression in their epochal triumph and China stunned into silence by the reality of a highly improbable result.
“I don’t know what to say, because this (the win against China) has never happened before,” said Bhriguvanshi.
“But we certainly deserved to win. We worked hard for this,” he added.
“I’m not surprised at all,” said India coach Scott Flemming.
“Full marks to the players for holding it together. I think it’s an overdue win for India and there’s no way anyone can take the credit away from the boys,” he added.
“Well, this is a young team. Such results are expected,” reacted China coach Wang Huaiyu.
“They (India) really deserved the win because they certainly played better than us. But our very purpose is to learn from these mistakes. We win some and we lose some at this stage. But every game is a lesson for us,” he added.
(Report courtesy FIBA Asia)