Hosts Nepal, Uzbekistan and India enjoyed convincing wins against their respective rivals, as embattled Kazakhstan survived a scare from Sri Lanka to narrowly edge past the determined opponents in dramatic four-setter on Day 2 of the Central Asian Volleyball Association (CAVA) Volleyball Women’s Challenge Cup at NSC Covered Hall in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
Nepal, fresh from beating Kyrgyzstan in a completely one-sided affair in the Monday’s curtain-raiser, still proved too strong for Bangladesh to power past the lower-ranked side in another easy match 25-10, 25-8, 25-8 for two wins in a row in Pool A.
Kamana chipped in with 13 points for the host nation, while Usha added 11 points to the tally. No Bangladesh player scored double digits for the team. Sabina scored only 5 points on the Bangladesh’s losing effort.
India also claimed consecutive two wins in Pool A. After shutting out Bangladesh in an easy encounter the previous day, the Indians made their mark on Tuesday, having little problems in trouncing Kyrgyzstan in comfortable straight sets 25-17, 25-8, 25-8.
Soorya contributed 16 points for India, while Nirmal and Anushree kept good company to add 12 and 10 points respectively. Kadyrova led Kyrgyzstan with 5 points.
In Pool B, Uzbekistan, which pulled off sensational straight-set win against Sri Lanka on the opening day, continued their winning streak in the one-week tournament. The Uzbek outfits cruised past Maldives in another easy match, 25-18, 25-14, 25-4 for two wins in a row.
Khodisakhon chipped in with 13 points for Uzbekistan, while Zaynabkhon added 12 and Ezozakhon and Malikabonu scored 10 points apiece for the winning team. Hawwa led Maldives with 7 points.
The other match between Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka was more exciting. The Kazakh side proved much stronger in the looking-easy match as they came up with powerful attacks from Uatayeva, Akhmetova and Balagazinova to take the comfortable opening set 25-16.
However, the Sri Lankans turned things around and hit back bravely in the following sets. They turned the heat on the rivals in the second set before going down in a closely-contested battle 26-28. The Sri Lankans went on their strong fightback with good defence in the third set, which they surprisingly beat the taller Kazakh rivals 25-18.
The fourth set was intense as both sides tried their best to win the set which saw leads change hands momentarily. However, Kazakhstan fared better on the home stretch, holding the spirited rivals off with their attacks to capture the close set 29-27 and match.
Uatayeva tallied 20 points for Kazakhstan, added 15 apiece by Akhmetova and Balagazinova. Preethika scored a match-high 27 points on the Sri Lanka’s loss, while Thilini added crucial 21 points.
After two days, India and Nepal remained unbeaten to finish top two in Pool A with 6 points apiece, while Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan have yet won a match and are looking for their first win in the eight-nation competition.
Pool B was dominated by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, both of them had 6 points apiece from two successive wins. Sri Lanka and Maldives finished third and fourth places following two losses in a row.
On Wednesday, the last day of the pool round-robin preliminaries, Kyrgyzstan will take on Bangladesh in Pool A, with India and hosts Nepal fighting it out to win the crucial match which will determine the top spot in Pool A.
In Pool B, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan set up a highly-anticipated match as the two undefeated sides will battle it out to vie for the Pool B winners. Sri Lanka will take on Maldives to strive for their first success in the tournament.
However, with only top two teams from each pool advancing, four unbeaten teams, India and Nepal in Pool A and Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in Pool B, are assured of making the cut for the cross semifinals on May 26.
The remaining four teams, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh in Pool A and Sri Lanka and Maldives in Pool B, all of them succumbed to two straight losses, are quite certain of being relegated to classification round for 5th-8th places, which will be held on May 25.
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