India survived a strong Kenyan second-half fight and sealed a 50-15 victory in their final group-stage match of Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 at the Al Wasl Sports Club, Dubai on Tuesday. India now go through to semi-final undefeated, where they will look to continue their domination against the Republic of Korea.
India started proceedings safely, picking up bonus points instead of taking risks. The defence was strong as usual, and with the dangerous Surender Nada coming back into the mix, they gave nothing away to the Kenyans.
Pardeep Narwal, the star of VIVO Pro Kabaddi and the captain of current champions Patna Pirates, had been struggling for form in the first game he played. But against Kenya he showed just what a threat he can be. His quick raids meant that India raced away to an 11-0 lead in the 6th minute after inflicting their first All Out on Kenya.
Jaipur Pink Panthers’ David Mosambayi opened the scoring for Kenya and was well backed up by the defenders. But the Indian juggernaut was just too destructive on the day.
The World Champions looked lethal, and a second All Out inflicted on Kenya in the 16th minute gave the Indian team a 25-4 lead.
The first half ended firmly in India’s favour as the score read 29-5.
It was more of the same in the second half as another VIVO Pro Kabaddi star, Telugu Titans' Rahul Chaudhari, also found form and inflicted a third all out in the 4th minute.
For the Kenyans, Victor Obeiro was in peak form. He got the first Super Raid for his side in the 13th minute. His efforts brought India down to two men on the mat at one point.
But the two defenders were Bengal Warriors’ captain Surjeet Singh and Tamil Thalaivas’ One-Man-Army Manjeet Chhillar. The duo brought India back and kept the team from having to face their first All Out of the tournament.
Singh completed a Super Raid in the last raid of the night and got India past the 50-point mark.
In spite of the close competition in the second half though, India sailed through with a 50-15 victory. Victor Obeiro almost got himself a Super 10 but was left wanting for 2 points.
India now face the Republic of Korea after two days of rest in the second semi-final on Friday, 29th of June at 9pm IST. Kenya still have an outside chance of making it through to the semi-final if they can trump Pakistan on Wednesday, 27th of June.