Asian Kabaddi Championship 2017: India ride on Ajay Thakur’s heroics to crush Pakistan, enter semi-final

India recorded a crushing 44-18 victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in their final group game to enter the semi-final of the Asian Kabaddi Championship in Gorgan, Iran on Saturday.

 Asian Kabaddi Championship 2017: India ride on Ajay Thakur’s heroics to crush Pakistan, enter semi-final

Indian Kabaddi team pose after beating Pakistan in their final group match of the Asian Kabaddi Championship in Gorgan, Iran. Image Courtesy: AKFI

Ajay Thakur, who was given the responsibility of leading the Indian side ahead of Anup Kumar, led from the front against Pakistan, scoring 12 raid points. The skipper was ably supported by Bengal Warriors raider Maninder Singh, who returned 11 raid points.

While it was the Indian raiding department which contributed 30 points to their final total and fractured Pakistan's resistance, the Indian defence comprising Surender Nada, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Sandeep Narwal and Surjeet Narwal didn’t allow Pakistan any respite during their raids.

The world champions dominated their neighbours right from the outset and raced to a 15-4 advantage in the opening 12 minutes.

At half-time, India maintained their stranglehold on the game, stretching their lead to 24-8.

Pakistan offered little resistance after the restart, falling to a 26-point defeat as India tested their bench strength ahead of the semi-finals.

Earlier on Friday, India had thumped Iraq 61-21 to start the tournament on a positive note. Pardeep Narwal and Nitin Tomar top scored for India with six points apiece in that game. India then dispatched Japan 82-16 before annihilating Afghanistan by a mammoth scoreline of 103-25.

India's semi-final opponents are yet to be determined, but the Rambir Singh Khokkar-led side will be favourites to advance to the final irrespective of who the face in the semi-final on Sunday morning.

The final will also take place on Sunday with hosts Iran likely to be India's opponents for the title clash, if they go past their opponents in the semi-final.

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Updated Date: Nov 26, 2017 10:29:39 IST