December 2, 2019 09:00 AM NPT
Players of India (yellow) and Sri Lanka in action during the men's volleyball semifinal match of the 13th South Asian Games at the NSC's covered hall in Tripureshwar, Kathmandu on Sunday. Photo: Dipesh Shrestha/Republica
KATHMANDU, Dec 2: Contenders India and Pakistan will face off in the final of men’s volleyball at the 13th South Asian Games after Pakistan defeated its semifinal competitor Bangladesh on straight sets 3-0.
Earlier, India had already booked its final place beating Sri Lanka 3-1 after getting a tough competition in all the three sets it won, with the score 2-1 at one point. Both the teams defeated their semifinal competitors on straight sets on Sunday. In the semifinal matches played at the National Sports Council (NSC)’s covered hall in Tripureshwar, India struggled to beat Sri Lanka 27-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21.
After going 2-0 up with slimmest of margins, India could not get its authority on Sri Lanka with the team battling on both spike and block to outcast the Sri Lankan challenge. Sri Lanka produced a superb spike performance to hold India on 25 points, but the title contender could not let Sri Lanka win the first set by winning two straight points.
However, Sri Lanka, in the second set, launched a threat early on, but then lost its concentration and lsot 25-19 against India with the confidence seeming to be lost after going 2-0 down.
Despite presenting a close challenge to the title favorite who had defeated Nepal on straight sets 3-0 in the group stages, Sri Lanka could not nullify the attacking prowess of India in the first two sets.
The third set showed some signs of a Sri Lanka fightback after it won the set with the difference of four points with points being saved by a good performance from the libero and the spike was as good with better placements than in the first two sets.
It won the set 25-21, and had a hard time in the third set as it lost with the same margin.
In the second semifinal, Pakistan won the game against Bangladesh on straight sets of 25-15, 25-21, 26-24.
Despite the scoreline suggesting a poor fightback from Bangladesh, it actually did better in the last two sets, but could not get a foothold in the game over a tall Pakistani side.
The first set was a brilliant spike performance from Pakistan with Bangladesh failing in both block and receive and the spike being picked out successfully by Pakistan.
However, Bangladesh performed better in the last two sets, but could not get the game back in track and lost a chance to play against India in the final.
The extra spice in the final is added by the political tensions between the two countries. The final will be played on Tuesday after India plays against Nepal in women’s volleyball.