Kabaddi World Cup 2016 | Korea upset India 34-32 in the opener

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Kabaddi World Cup 2016 | Korea upset India 34-32 in the opener

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SportsCafe Desk

10/07/2016

A tremendous fightback from the Korean team, led by the brilliant Jang Kun Lee, saw them win the opening game of the Kabaddi World Cup 34-32 against India on Friday. Earlier, stunning performances from Anup Kumar and Rahul Chaudhari had helped India to a comfortable 18-13 lead at halftime.

India's starting VII –Jasvir Singh, Surjeet, Manjeet Chhillar, Anup Kumar, Rahul Chaudhari, Mohit Chhillar, Dharmaraj Cheralathan

South Korea's starting VII – Seong Ryeol Kim, Tae Deok Eom, Dong Geon Lee, Jang Kun Lee, Dong Ju Hong, Young Chang Ko, Ta-deok Kim

First half

Both the team's star players, Anup Kumar and Jang Kun Lee, failed in their opening raids as both the defences held their fort. Rahul Chaudhari failed in a do-or-die raid which gave the Koreans an early lead at 4-2. However, Indian skipper Anup Kumar showed his class to make the first super raid of the tournament as he ousted three Koreans and put India in lead for the first time.

The match was evenly balanced at 8-9,, but Dharmarajan took out Tae Deok Eom with an excellent block to orchestrate the first all-out of the match, and the home side, finally, had a breathing space at 12-9. A couple of minutes later, Rahul made India's second super raid. Initially, 3 points were awarded to India, but a review showed that the third Korean touch came after Rahul had crossed the line.

Pardeep Narwal made his first appearance as a substitute, and he was thrown at the deep end straight away. Pardeep's first contribution was a do-or-die raid and he did not let his team down and took India's lead to 17-10. A super tackle towards the end helped Korea close down the gap to 18-13 by the time the first half came to an end.

Second half

India started from where they left off in the first half, and if Anup Kumar was the star of the first 20 minutes, Manjeet Chillar stamped his authority on the match at the start of the second half. A strong leg hold by him gave India 2 points in a super tackle, and he followed it up with a double hand take-down, his fifth point of the game, to take India's lead to 22-15.

However, Korea were not willing to throw in the towel. Jang Kun Lee came into his own, and he led his team's fightback. In a spell of 6 minutes, Korea managed four points to India's one, and then Jang Kun Lee went on a raid to oust two of the three remaining Indians. The home team's lead was cut down to 25-21 with only Ajay Thakur remaining for India. However, Thakur went on a bonus raid and almost improbably brought home two points for India. But, Korea eventually forced an all-out as Anup Kumar went for an unsuccessful raid.

With just 2 minutes remaining on the clock, India's lead was trimmed down to 29-26, and Jang Kun Lee produced a couple of moments of brilliance. In two consecutive raids, Jang Kun Lee got 5 points in total and gave the lead back to his team for the first time since the start of the first half at 34-32. As the final whistle was blown, the Korean players celebrated wildly in what a stunning upset to kick off the World Cup.

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