Pakistan recorded their third successive defeat at the Asian Central Zone Volleyball Championship when they were comprehensively beaten by hosts India at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.
India cruised to a straight-sets win over their arch rivals with scores of 25-17, 25-15 and 25-22, to book a place in the final against tournament favourites Iran. The match, which lasted 70 minutes, was completely dominated by the hosts from the beginning as Pakistan failed to make an impact.
India welcomed back star spiker Gurchand Singh, who reportedly missed the match against Iran due to injury. Singh`s smash and service excellence proved too much for a demoralised Pakistan side, whose participation wasn`t confirmed until two days before the tournament kicked off.
Ranked 61 places behind their eastern neighbours, the Pakistani squad underwent a 48-hour commute to reach the host city. Despite losing their first two matches (against Iran and Kazakhstan), Pakistan`s coach Brazilian coach Augusto Sabbatini and captain Zaheer Abbas believed their side would be able to make a comeback against India.
With their miserable stint at the tournament now over, Pakistan will return home as India prepare to take on a red-hot Iran side on Monday.
Iran, ranked 18th in the world, remain unbeaten in the tournament and have only dropped one set in their three matches. India will hope to unsettle the tournament favourites with the backing of their home crowd as they vie for the gold medal.
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