India registered a comfortable 45-29 win over South Korea in the semi-final of the Asian Kabaddi Championship to set-up a mouth-watering final against Pakistan in Gorgan, Iran on Sunday. This will be the first Indo-Pak final at any major kabaddi competition in eleven years after the 2006 Doha Asian Games final that India won by a margin of 35-23.
The world champions who won all their games in the group stage with a convincing margin, maintained their dominance against the Koreans in the semi-final. With the win, the Rambir Singh Khokkar-coached side gained revenge for the loss which the Koreans inflicted on them in the Kabaddi World Cup opener in Ahmedabad last year.
However, this new-look Indian side led by Ajay Thakur made light work of the 2016 World Cup semi-finalists as they managed to tame star raider Jang Kun Lee who did most of the damage to the Indian defence last year.
After a cautious start, Pardeep Narwal propelled India into a significant lead as the Koreans found his trickery too hard to live with. India gained control of the game at half time with 21-14 lead at the interval.
A strong second half showing from the Indian raiders Maninder Singh and Thakur meant the Koreans failed to mount a second-half comeback like they did in Ahmedabad a year ago and succumbed to a 16-point loss.
Thakur's men will now face Pakistan in the final at 5 PM IST on Sunday. They will head into the game in confident mood having already beaten their arch-rivals by a big margin of 44-18 in the group stages. But Pakistan is expected to show a bit more resistance in the final having gained in confidence after shocking hosts Iran 28-24 in the semi-final.
Indian women trounce Sri Lanka to reach final
Indian women's team also reached the final of the Asian Kabaddi Championship after humbling Sri Lanka 47-17 in the semi-final. They will now face South Korea in the final who record a 17-14 victory over Iran in the other final four clash.
The Indian women had beaten Thailand (52-26), Chinese Taipei (56-23) and Turkmesnistan (86-7) in the group stages to enter the semi-final in grand fashion.
Like their male counterparts, the Indian women too will start as big favourites in the final against the Koreans.
With inputs from AKFI
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Updated Date: Nov 26, 2017 16:33:23 IST