A super 10 from Pawan Sehrawat and valuable contributions from Aslam Inamdar and Arjun Deshwal helped India beat Iran 42-32 in the final of the Asian Kabaddi Championship in Busan on Friday.
This is India’s eighth Asian Championship gold medal, a win sealed by a fairly comfortable win over arch rival Iran who did not field many of its veterans in this tournament.
Despite Iran drawing first blood, India’s raiding prowess helped the side accumulate points and always stay six to seven points ahead of Iran throughout the game.
Saeid Ghaffari, Moein Shafaghi and Amirmohammad along with useful contributions from Mohammadreza Shadloui Chiyaneh were key in keeping the scoreboard ticking for Iran but the Iranian attack could not match the bite and consistency of its Indian counterpart. Shadloui’s individual moments of brilliance -- like his pursuit raids, his three-point effort which helped Iran inflict an all out and his bonus attempts -helped Iran snap at India’s heels but always from a fairly safe distance. A little more support to the Patna Pirates star might have seen this summit clash finish with a different scoreline and potentially a different result.
Shadloui’s five-point (all out points included) effort gave Iran the closest chance of swinging momentum away from India. With the scores reading 35-26 in India’s favour, and a fair amount of time left on the clock, Iran needed to play to its strengths to bridge the deficit. However, India targeted Shadloui, especially when he came on to raid, removing him from the mat and the game scenario in entirety. The Indian defense swarmed around Shadloui almost constricting him to the spot he was at on the mat.
From that point, pressure got to Iran. The raid points were not flowing in as fluidly anymore. With the clock ticking, an eight-plus points difference was too large to bridge for the Iranians.
Shadloui could have changed that when he went in to raid with Aslam being the only man on the mat. However, he seemingly stopped the kabaddi chant to yell at Aslam that he had got a touch on him, thereby allowing India the two points for a super tackle. The 22-year-old immediately cupped his face in hands, realising the opportunity he had let slip.
India then kept calm and saw the dying minutes of the game through to seal yet another international encounter against Iran in its favour.
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