INJURY-PRONE KAZAKHSTAN STRUGGLE TO BEAT INDIA IN TIE-BREAKER
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 26, 2018 – Fast-improving Kazakhstan struggled to beat India in a hard-fought five-set thriller in the 5th-8th playoffs at the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium on Saturday.
The dramatic 25-19 23-25 25-23 19-25 15-12 victory over the Indians, to whom they lost in straight sets at the recent “Princess Cup” 20th South East Asian Women’s U17 Championship at the same competition here, has won the Kazakhs a berth in the Sunday’s 5th-6th place playoff against Chinese Taipei. India will take on Iran to fight for the 7th position.
Samai Ibrayeva scored a team-high 22 points including 15 attacks from 50 attempts for the winning team, while Zhannel Nogaibayeva and Zinat Kadyrbekova contributed 16 and 12 points respectively. Disha Ghosh led India with 17 points, assisted by Elakiya M.Muthu and Tiwari Debangsh with 16 points apiece.
India relied mostly on their fine attacks from Elakiya M.Muthu and Tiwari Debangshi and at the same time fielded Radha Anagha, who stands 183cm tall, to make their defence even more difficult to penetrate. However, the well-organised Kazakhstan played well to foil the rivals’ attacking efforts and took the first set 25-19.
The second set was closely-contested from start to finish as both sides gave it all out to win the set. Kazakhstan, steered by Samai Ibrayeva and Zinat Kadyrbekova, fought well, but the Indians improved on defence and were always there to front the Kazakhs’ fierce attacks. Taking a narrow 19-17 lead, India excelled defensively as despite the mighty attacks from the rivals, the Indians stayed in good form. As expected, India won the hard-fought set 25-23.
In the third set, Kazakhstan’s chances of winning a better position in this championship were lifted with the thrilling 25-23 win. However, India taught them victory is just a glimpse of how powerful the team are and after unleashing a barrage of fierce spikes, India took the set 25-19.
The decider saw Kazakhstan push the Indians to the limit with their superb form, thanks to powerful attacks from Zhannel Nogaibayeva and Aisulu Yembergeova. Kazakhstan captured the exciting tie-breaker 15-12 and match.
“Both teams are at the same level, I think. I have never thought before that we could win this match against India because three players in my team, Zinat Kadyrbekova (No.7), Alina Sarina (No.16) and Zhannel Nogaibayeva (No.17), sustained injuries. I thought we might go down in three sets, but I could not believe that we could stretch it to fourth sets. As we had to play four sets, I told my girls to make history and they really did. We lost to India in straight sets in the Princess Cup and beat them here. It was amazing. Now we have to go up against Chinese Taipei. Win or loss, I think my team had already succeeded,” Japanese Koichi Shuto, coach of Kazakhstan, said.
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