KARACHI: Pakistan on Friday overpowered spirited Azerbaijan 40-30 in their Group B final league outing of the Kabaddi World Cup (circle style) at the jam-packed Zahoor Elahi Stadium in Gujrat to emerge as the group winners.
Meanwhile, India romped to their fourth successive win when they tamed England in their Group A clash to top their group with eight points. The semi-finals will be held in the Punjab Stadium in Lahore. In the semi-finals, Pakistan will face Group A runners-up Iran while India will meet Group B runners-up Australia.
The final is scheduled at Punjab Stadium on Sunday (tomorrow). Pakistan-Azerbaijan match was quite interesting. The visitors offered great resistance to the hosts who seemed a bit relaxed. At one stage in the second half the gap was very low as Pakistan were leading 32-29. However, Pakistan’s attack and defence did some fine job to score good points to finish the game 40-30.
“Yes, our team was a bit relaxed today,” Pakistan Kabaddi Federation’s (PKF) secretary Mohammad Sarwar told ‘The News’. A huge crowd was seen at the Zahoor Elahi Stadium. Sarwar said around 30,000 fans enjoyed the game. “The crowd was encouraging. Those fans who did not get entry witnessed the clash from nearby buildings. I hope if India and Pakistan play the final then there will be a huge crowd at the Punjab Stadium which will be hosting the final,” said Sarwar, also secretary of Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF).
This is the first time that Pakistan is hosting the World Cup. India hosted and won all the previous six World Cups. It was learnt that Indian team is a bit under pressure because the side was disowned by the Indian government, All India Kabaddi Federation (AIKF) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) a few days ago.
There was an uproar in India that the team had crossed the border without taking permission from the government. The AIKF and IOA said that they did not know who were featuring in World Cup. India’s Sports Ministry said no one got permission from the state.
The team came to Pakistan via Wagah border. India has been the best side of the world with Indian Punjab producing players of the highest quality. Even in this World Cup, India’s players have been seen representing different nations.