Strong contenders alongside favourites Egypt [ Images ] and defending champions England [ Images ], a new-look Pakistan outplayed India [ Images ] 3-0 in their opening league encounter in the four-team Pool C in the 21st ICL World men's team squash championship in Chennai on Friday.
The Indian trio, spearheaded by National champion and its No 1 player Saurav Ghosal, was a notch below the Pakistan outfit, led by its top-ranked player, Amir Atlast Khan.
The left-handed Amir gave the team the right start, defeating India No 3 Siddharth Suchde 11-8, 12-10, 11-9, 11-5.
After winning the first game, Siddharth could not match Amir, who won crucial points with his deft cross courts shots and drops.
Pakistan appeared to be coasting to an easy win when in the second match Saurav failed to find his touch against their No 3, right-hander Farhan Mahboob in the first two games. But he rallied brilliantly in the next two to draw level 2-2 on game score. But in the decisive fifth, Mahboob edged out Saurav, who fought gamely till 8-8 before losing. Mahboob won-11-10, 11-6, 11-13, 6-11, 11-9.
The third match, which was of no consequence anyway to Pakistan, turned out to be even more easy, as India No 2 Ritwik Bhattacharya, returning to big competition after a long injury lay-off, could hardly match Pakistan No 2 Mansoor Zaman, another left-hander.
Exhibiting a pathetic display and slow movement on court, Ritwik made things easy for Mansoor, who coasted to a 11-6, 11-9, 11-3 victory.
However, India are assured of a place in the second phase, as they have only lowly-ranked Kenya to take on in the last league outing.
Pakistan will take on Bermuda and are poised to top the pool.