Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, June 26, 2022 – Formidable India turned a tough nut to crack at the “21st Princess Cup” 3rd Asian Women’s Volleyball Challenge Cup after seeing off determined Malaysia in thrilling three-setter 25-17, 25-16, 25-22 for three wins in a row in the single round-robin tournament at Nakhon Pathom Sports Centre Gymnasium on Sunday.
India made a confident start to the match, with Anushree K.P. and Nirmal puncturing the Malaysian defence with powerful blows to hand the team five points in a row from the very beginning of the first set for the India’s initial 9-3 lead. However, they were errors-strewn briefly after that, allowing Malaysia a strong comeback to narrow the margin 13-15, thanks to the 184cm-tall captain Low Mei Cing’s aggressive attacks.
Anushree was on fire as India stopped the rot against the spirited rivals. The Indians gradually pulled their game together and started to gain control for a blistering run of scores, earning 5 points in a row to stretch the lead to 20-13. The rhythm was still with India as they notched some crucial points to lead 24-14 after a pike from Goh Chiao-Huey went wide, but Malaysia did not agree with the referee’s decision and challenged on ball in/out and were successful for the reduced 15-23 gap and won another point 16-23. Angel Joseph jumped hight to drop over the smaller blockers and her effort paid out pretty well as India advanced 24-16. They allowed Malaysia only one more point from Siah Irene Qi Min’s attack to wrap up the first set 25-17.
Going down one set, Malaysia regrouped for a better performance in the second set and their more determination bore fruits as they pushed the strong rivals to the limit with their improved performance and never-say-die attitude. Both teams fought tooth and nail from the beginning which saw the score level at 3-3 and again 8-8. However, after that, India proved their class, with Anushree and Nirmal immense for the team at the net, repelling wave after wave of the team’s attacks to widen the margin to 21-14. The strong Indians never looked back after that to win the set 25-16.
Malaysia came back much stronger in the third set to stay in front 3-1 and from then on, battled hard to foil the India’s attacking attempts. Again, the Malaysians and India gave it all out in the closely-contested set which saw leads change hands in some moments. Levelling 19-19, India broke away and led with a four-point clear at 24-20. Malaysia bagged two more points before a serve from Siah Irene Qi Min went to the net. India captured the set 25-22, match and three wins on the trot.
Anushree K.P. chipped in with 17 points all from attacks for India, while Nirmal kept good company to add crucial 16 points. Low Mei Cing scored a match-high 21 points from 19 attacks and two blocks for Malaysia.
India’s Anushree K.P said after the match, “I’m very happy for the win against Malaysia and it’s our team’s three wins here in Nakhon Pathom.”
Malaysia’s setter Goh Chiao Huey admitted that her team made a lot of mistakes in this match and that costs the team dear. Still, she believed that her team can improve in next matches. She also thanked adoring fans for supporting her team and all Asian sides in this tournament.
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