India began their 2016 Kabaddi World Cup campaign in disappointing manner as they lost 32-34 to Korea. A hushed silence fell at the Transtadia in Ahemadabad’s TransStadia Arena as India crumbled under pressure in the last two minutes to lose their opening game of the World Cup.
Jang Kun Lee produced a terrific performance in the last two minutes to turn the game in his team’s favour. Korea looked down and out in the second half but recovered strongly to record a famous win over the hosts. Anup Kumar scored eight points for India but it wasn’t enough for his team.
It was a slow start by both teams as they exchanged empty raids in the first three minutes. Dharmaraj Cheralathan scored the first defence point for India in the 2nd minute. The Korean defence sent Rahul Chaudhry to the bench in fourth minute as Korea led 3-2. Anup Kumar scored three points with a super raid in the sixth minute as India led 5-4. Korea forced a super tackle in the seventh minute to lead 7-6. Rahul Chaudhry scored his first raid point in the 10th minute as India inflicted an all out to lead 12-9. Korean star man Jang Kun Lee was kept quiet by the Indian defence as he scored just one point in the first 10 minutes.
Rahul Chaudhry scored two raid points in the 12th minute as India opened a five-point gap to lead 14-9. Jang Kun Lee had just one successful raid in the first half as Korean raiders struggled to get points. Pardeep Narwal came on as a substitute in the 18th minute and scored with his first raid as India led 18-10. Korean defence forced another super tackle in the 19th minute as they trailed 12-18. Hong Dong Ju, captain of Korea, scored a raid point in the 20th minute to close the gap to five points as they trailed 13-18 at the end of first half.
Korea began the second half strongly as they scored two points in three minutes to trail 15-18. Manjeet Chhillar forced a super tackle in 25th minute as India led 21-15. Pardeep Narwal scored a raid point in the 26th minute to give India 23-15 lead. With eight minutes to go, Korean defence sent Pardeep Narwal to the bench as they trailed 19-24. A superb raid by Lee Dong in 35th minute turned the game on its head as India was reduced to just one man. Ajay Thakur scored two points and saved India from an all out but Korea successfully inflicted an all out in 37th minute as Korea trailed 25-28. Jang Kun Lee scored with a bonus point in 37th minute as Korea cut the deficit to just two points.
It was tense last few minutes for the Indian team as Korea fought back on multiple occasions to reduce the deficit. Jang Kun Lee then produced a brilliant super raid in the 39th minute as Korea tied the game at 30-30. Anup Kumar scored with a raid in the last minute but Jang Kun Lee scored two more points to lead 32-31. Korea held their nerve in the dying seconds and scored a remarkable upset to win 34-32.