Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, May 27, 2017 – Kazakhstan survived a serious threat from Pakistan to put it past the fighting rivals with a fantastic comeback 3-2 (21-25 25-22 25-22 18-25 15-13) victory at the Central Asian Zonal Qualification Tournament for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship at the Gazprom Gym in Bishkek on Saturday.
Pakistan, which edged past hosts Kyrgyzstan in a hard-fought five-set battle the previous day in the single round-robin three-team tournament, attacked well and blocked effectively to lead from start to finish for the first-set win 25-21.
Going down one set, Kazakhstan came back strongly in the second set, overcoming their service mistakes and showing their attacking and blocking prowess. As Pakistan tried to catch up with the rivals’ drastically improved tactics, Kazakhstan went on their attacks to win the set 25-22.
Kazakhstan remained in impressive form in the third set although Pakistan upped their tempo for the determined fightback. Kazakhstan sealed the set 25-22 for a 2-1 lead.
Both sides improved on their service, attacks and blocks with high hopes of winning the crucial fourth set, but Kazakhstan became prone with hasty unforced mistakes. Pakistan seized the chance to attack devastatingly to claim the set 25-18, setting the eventual winners to be decided in tie-break.
Kazakhstan and Pakistan came all-out in the decider, making it the closely-contested game either team unable to leave the rivals with a gap of more than two points. At the final assault, Kazakhstan won the thrilling decider 15-13 and the 2.15-hour match.
Donets Vasiliy scored a match-high 26 points for Kazakhstan including 15 attack hits and 5 blocks. Vorivodin Vitaliy contributed 25 points including 16 kills and 3 stuff blocks. Aimal Khan led Pakistan with 20 points from 17 kills, 1 block and 2 ace serves.
Kazakhstan will next take on hosts Kyrgyzstan on Sunday, May 28. The team with the best performance in the three-day meet will capture the top honour and the lone berth to contest the Final Round Qualifications in Iran in coming August.
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