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Indian men paddlers in final
March 19, 2006 13:27 IST
India upset formidable Nigeria to book a berth in the men's team table tennis final at the 18th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, on Sunday.
Silver medallist at the last Games in Manchester, Nigeria, who stunned defending champions England on Saturday, found themselves at the receiving end as the inspired Indians pulled off a thrilling 3-2 victory.
India, who lost in the semi-finals in Manchester, will clash with the winner of the Singapore-Wales match, scheduled later today.
Nigeria's Kazim Nasiru was the favourite whipping horse of the Indian team as he lost both his matches, to Achanta Sharath Kamal and Soumyadeep Roy, while national champion Subhajit Saha accounted for Merotohum Monday.
The Indians, however, failed to match the prowess of reigning singles champion Segun Toriola, who beat both Roy and Kamal in straight games.
Roy lost the opening match against Toriola 10-12, 6-11, 8-11 before Sharath Kamal showed his class as he fought back from a game down to restore parity against Kazeem Nasiru.
Sharath kept Indian hopes alive with a 7-11, 13-11, 11-5, 13-11 win against Nasiru, who had a bad day.
National champion Saha then put India ahead as he prevailed 3-2 over Merotohum Monday in the crucial third match.
An unruffled Saha carved out a sparkling 5-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 win to raise India's hopes of a medal.
Toriola, however, temporarily put the brakes on India's surge towards the final as he blew away Sharath Kamal 11-8, 11-4, 11-9 and pushed the tie to the decider.
The seasoned Roy then sealed the issue as he kept his composure in the final game to thrash Nasiru 15-13, 11-7, 11-8 and propel India to the title round.