Asian Team Snooker: India in knockouts

India got the better of Qatar and Sri Lanka by 3-0 margins but lost 2-3 to Thailand in the four-team group. Both India and Thailand had booked the two knockout spots after winning their first two matches against Sri Lanka and Qatar, respectively.

Pankaj Advani recently became the first in the world to hold both world and continental titles in 6-Red snooker at the same time.   -  R. Ragu

India today entered the knockout stage of the Asian Team Snooker Championship with a second-place finish in Group B after going down to Thailand in its last league match in Abu Dhabi.

India had earlier got the better of Qatar and Sri Lanka by 3-0 margins but lost 2-3 to Thailand in the four-team group.

Both India and Thailand had booked the two knockout spots after winning their first two matches against Sri Lanka and Qatar, respectively.

India started on the wrong foot with Manan Chandra losing to Thailand’s Ratchayothin Yotharuck 30-65. But the recently crowned 6-Red continental champion Pankaj Advani levelled the score by defeating Yuttapop Pakpoj 70-37.

Advani and Aditya Mehta then put India 2-1 in front by drubbing the Thai pair of Yotharuck and Pakpoj 94-13. But 20-year-old Yotharuck created a big upset when he overcame Indian ace Advani, who is 10 years elder to him, 85-0 before Pakpoj sealed Thai’s place at the top of the group by vanquishing Chandra 62-54.

Earlier, Advani had spearheaded India past Qatar. He gave the team a 1-0 lead when he outclassed Qatar’s Ahmed Sai 70-16, which was then increased to 2-0 by Chandra, who defeated Mohsin Bukshaisha 70-45.

In the deciding doubles contest, Advani and Chandra combined forces to get the better of Qatari rivals Saif and Ali Alobaidly 88-11.

India were equally impressive in dispatching Sri Lanka by a similar margin, winning the two singles matches 61-12 and 79-1 before sewing up the tie with a facile 86-1 win in the doubles match.

Thailand, India’s main rival in the group, also won against Qatar (3-2) and Lanka (3-0) before edging out India to top the group.