KARACHI: Pakistan were off to a flying start when they defeated Iran 60-40 in their opener of the 2nd Asia Kabaddi Cup 2012, which commenced at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore on Thursday.
In the first half, Pakistani raiders displayed fine skills and power to keep the visitors under pressure right from the start.
At one stage, Pakistan were leading 16-1, but Iran raised their game and scored a few quick points as the half ended 35-16 in favour of the hosts.
In the second half both the teams offered tough resistance to each other as they went neck in neck with Pakistan having an edge due to their first half lead.
An Iranian raider’s splendid way of breaking the clutches of the Pakistani defender was a treat to watch seven minutes from time.
In the end a tough fight was witnessed before the hosts sealed a win to bag two vital points.
Raiders Shafiq Butt, Mohammad Shafiq Chishti, Babar Wasim and Shehzad Akmal Dogar did a fine job for Pakistan.
They were strongly supported by defenders (antis) Mohammad Mansha Gujjar, skipper Mohammad Javed and Sajjad Gujjar who foiled some nasty rallies from the bulky Iranian raiders.
Earlier, Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) president and Senator Choudhry Shujaat Hussain inaugurated the competitions in a glittering ceremony.
Before that, in an exhibition match Pakistan beat Asia XI 31-22.
The organisers changed the format of the 2nd Asia Kabaddi Cup 2012 at the eleventh hour after Indonesia pulled out of the event.
“We had made all preparations to receive Indonesia, but they pulled out at the last moment, telling us that they could not come due to some internal problems within the Indonesia Kabaddi Federation,” an official of the PKF told ‘The News’.
As per rules, in case of less than seven teams the event is normally played under a single league system and the team that secures more points in the end are declared the champions.
Initially, the seven teams were placed in two different groups and the competitions were planned under round robin league system.
After the pullout of Indonesia, now defending champions India, the last edition runners-up Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka are showing their worth in the competitions, being telecast live by Geo Super.
Revised schedule: November 1: Pakistan v Iran, India v Afghanistan, Sri Lanka v Nepal.
November 2: Iran v Afghanistan, Pakistan v Nepal, India v Sri Lanka
November 3: Iran v Sri Lanka, Pakistan v Afghanistan, India v Nepal
November4: Pakistan v Sri Lanka, India v Iran, Afghanistan v Nepal
November 5: Iran v Nepal, Sri Lanka v Afghanistan, Pakistan v India