Senior National Kabaddi Championship: Vikash Kandola leads Railways to another semi-final; Naveen Kumar powers Services into last-four
Pawan Sehrawat and his Railways unit cruised to the semi-finals of the 67th senior-national kabaddi men's championship.
Pawan Sehrawat and his Railways unit cruised to the semi-finals of the 67th senior-national kabaddi men's championship, upstaging Haryana in the first quarter-final
In the second quarter-final, hosts Rajasthan beat the 2018 champions Maharashtra to lift the spirits of the home crowd
Services beat Karnataka in the third men's quarter-finals of the day with Naveen Kumar continuing his golden run in the tournament
Pawan Sehrawat and his Railways unit cruised to the semi-finals of the 67th senior-national kabaddi men's championship, upstaging Haryana in the first quarter-final played on the fourth day of the tournament on Thursday.
Led by Sehrawat, Railways started off in an emphatic fashion, taking a 10-point lead by only the fifth minute of the match. Sehrawat led from the front in the first half, successfuly raiding on a consistent basis to help his side get the stranglehold in the match. However, he was later overwhelmed by his own teammate Vikash Kandola, who ended up with nine raiding points and a super raid, taking care of most of the raiding duties in the second half, with team looking set for a comfortable win.
Haryana looked below average and captain Sandeep Narwal blamed the lack of bite in the raiding unit as the big reason for the team's failure to not enter the semi-finals of the tournament. Pardeep Narwal, Haryana's star raider too could not deliver on the big occasion.
Also, the manner in which Railways registered this big win reveals a lot about their planning in the tournament. Speaking to Firstpost, after the match, Sehrawat said that the team is looking to be aggressive but not lose their sense of calmness. He said, "We have been told by our coach that be aggressive in the first half and take a huge lead and then go calm, try not to panic."
With Kandola outshining him in this match, Sehrawat took a backseat and enjoyed some tackles, with a wink every now and then to teammates after pulling of some combination catches.
In the second quarter-final, hosts Rajasthan beat the 2018 champions Maharashtra to lift the spirits of the home crowd. Playing in their own den, Rajasthan were not really the favourites but they held their nerves till the last second to get a spot in the semis.
Services beat Karnataka in the third men's quarter-finals of the day with Naveen Kumar continuing his golden run in the tournament, effecting 15 raid points in his side's massive 54-23 win. Naveen looked at his imperious best by using corners to good effect. His form will give his team huge confidence heading into the semis, where they play Uttar Pradesh who beat Bihar in a come-from-behind win on Thursday in the last and fourth quarter-final.
UP were trailing by 6 points at the end of the first half. However, in the seconf half, Abhishek Singh upped his game. Rahul Chaudhary, who also started off on a cold note, picked up his game. Abhishek and Rahul ended the game with 10 and 8 points respectively, as UP ousted Bihar with a score of 39-31, in what was the most highly-contested game of the evening.
The semi-finals will be played on 6 March at Poornima University in Jaipur, with Railways facing Rajasthan in the first semi-final and Services up against Uttar Pradesh in the second semi-finals contest. Not to forget, there are high chances that there could be a repeat of Naveen vs Pawan battle in the tournament if Railways and Services manage to win their games. The final match will be played in the evening on the same day.
In women's quarter-finals, Railways beat Goa in the first match to book their spot in the semis while Jharkhand ousted Bihar in the second match. The other two teams to make their place in the semis are Haryana and Himachal Pradesh who beat Rajasthan and Chhattisharh respectively. The women's semi-finals and finals will also be played on 6 March at the same venue.
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