Hosts India produced a stunning second-half surge to secure a 38-29 victory over Iran in Saturday’s Kabaddi World Cup final in Ahmedabad.
Ajay Thakur was the star performer for the home side, contributing 12 points in a superb solo effort.
India were heavy favourites to take the title, but for large stretches of the match Iran more than held their own.
— Star Sports (@StarSportsIndia) October 22, 2016
For much of the first half, they were matching India point for point and trading blows with regularity.
The score moved from 2-2 to 6-6 and 10-10 in the early stages, and when Iran inflicted the first all out of the match in the 19th minute, they found themselves leading 16-12 – which became 18-13 at the end of the first half.
Iran were deserved leaders thanks to some resolute defence, preventing both Manjeet Chhillar and Pardeep Narwal – regular contributors for India in previous matches – from scoring any points.
After the break, India began to close the gap, with raiders and defenders both playing their part.
Thakur added two more points in the 25th minute and it was also his pivotal point four minutes later that helped finally turn the tide for India, who inflicted their first all out shortly after to lead 24-21.
Following a few more excellent raids and a super tackle, Thakur was on hand again to score two more points and give India a virtually unassailable 34-24 lead.
A two-point raid from Meraj Sheykh helped the hosts keep Iran at bay, as India hung on for a deserved 38-29 victory to become world champions for a third time.
@IamAnupK Congratulations to u (Kabaddi World Cup winners team India) ….Big salute to the Indian team… ?????
— Saina Nehwal (@NSaina) October 22, 2016
Many congratulations to the Indian Kabaddi Team on another World Cup win! A nation watched on as you defined domination in the sport.
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) October 22, 2016
— Madhur Bhandarkar (@imbhandarkar) October 22, 2016
— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) October 22, 2016