AHMEDABAD: After almost losing in the final, India pulled the match back from the brink to beat Iran 38-29 to be crowned the champions of the world today, in a match that was thrilling till the very last minute.
The one person who stood out with a terrific performance was Ajay Thakur, who got 12 points, and thereby enabled India to shock the Iranians who were cruising towards a sensational and win. Needless to say, the fans in the stadium and across the country were overjoyed at the final result in a roller-coaster of a match. When the match started, there was no clue as to how thrilling the match would eventually turn out to be. That was because India raced to an early lead as Sandeep Narwal and Thakur scored raid points easily. However, India were pegged back by the incisive Meraj Sheykh who managed to restore parity and even take a lead at 5-4.
Indian captain Anup Kumar rallied his team with a standout personal effort to score a bonus point at that stage and level the score again at 6-6. However, India were unable to stop Meraj Sheykh who kept scoring at will and it took a spectacular effort by Mohit Chhillar for the team to stay within reach of the Iran score. This was followed by Nitin Tomar whose raid brought two points for India in the 18th minute even as the hosts trailed 11-12.
But soon India were soon reduced to just one man and had to suffer the first all out in the tie in the 19th minute. At half time Iran led 18-13. The unstoppable Meraj Sheykh punished India further as he muscled Manjeet Chhillar out of the court. However, the tide turned as Sheykh’s rampage was brought to a halt. India sent both Meraj Sheykh and Fazel Atrachali to the bench. However, Iran were leading 20-17 in the 28th minute, but that is when India grabbed the initiative with Ajay Thakur scoring his 9th point to restore parity at 20-20. India went on to impose an all out in the 30th minute on Iran and race to a 24-21 lead.