An undefeated Indian side made their way to the final of the Asian Kabaddi Championship 2017 in Gorgan, Iran setting up an encounter with neighbours Pakistan for top honours for the first time in 10 years.
India's winning streak in Group 1 of the tournament included a 44-18 victory over Pakistan that opened their path to the semi-final, where they overshadowed Group 2 runner-up South Korea 45-29. In the other semi-final, Pakistan beat Iran 28-24.
Coached by Rambir Singh Khokhar of Haryana Steelers, India started things off in style in their opening match against Iraq on Friday, where they won by a comfortable 61-21 scoreline owing to the heroics of Dubki King Pardeep Narwal and U.P. Yoddha captain Nitin Tomar. After leading Patna Pirates to a third title triumph in Season 5 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, Narwal continued his fine touch to emerge the top raider with 6 raid points. Tomar backed up both offence and defence by scoring 3 raid and 3 tackle points to take his match tally to 6. Bengal Warriors captain and cover defender Surjeet Singh completed his first High 5 of the tournament.
From there, team India went from strength to strength, beating Japan 82-16 before breaking the 100-point barrier against Afghanistan with a commanding 103-25 victory. However, rivals Pakistan were looking in fine form in their matches as well which made it important for India to record a win in their last group stage match against the team in order to top their group.
Ajay Thakur, who replaced U Mumba's Captain Cool Anup Kumar at the helm of the team, lay to rest all doubts about his captaincy after leading from the front and scoring a Super 10 against Pakistan in India's last group-stage match. The Tamil Thalaivas skipper scored 12 raid points and Bengal Warriors' Maninder Singh bagged 11 out of India's total raid point tally of 30. The defenders backed up the efforts of the raiders by giving nothing away to the Pakistan raiders. All-rounder Sandeep Narwal, who cemented his credentials in the recently concluded season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, led the defenders with 3 tackle points while Surender Nada and Surjeet Singh snared 2 tackle points apiece. India's dominating display saw them inflict 6 All Outs on Pakistan to seal a 26-point victory.
Now brimming with confidence, India will start as favourites when they meet Pakistan in the final on Sunday.