Pattaya (Thailand): Spurning close to five match points, Veer Chotrani lost a crucial match and helped Pakistan to clinch a 2-1 win over India in a Pool A boys’ encounter in the Asian junior team squash championship on Thursday. A win would have helped India book a knockout berth straightaway but now the boys will have to wait until the outcome of their match against the Koreans tomorrow.
But this was an opportunity that the boys’ almost seized with the great fight they put in. But things turned awry when the moment of joy was just a few points away. It was Utkarsh who set the ball rolling with a rollicking show in the opener against higher ranked Abbas Zeb. The Indian surprised his opponent with a 2-1 lead in game-score and was sitting pretty with 10-6 score in the fourth game. But their he got stuck and Zeb was too clever to let the chance go. Tushar Shahani came next and from 0-2 down in game score fought back splendidly to put it across Mohammad Farhan Hashmi in what a contest of consistency.
The whole tie now hinged on Veer for India and the young Mumbaite rose up to the occasion so it seemed as he won the first two games fighting all the way and then led 9-7 in the third. Haris Qasim looked all down when Veer presented him with some lose strokes. The Pakistani lad pounced on the offer and never looked back., Veer did have another match point in the fourth game but by now Qasim was on different plane, going for every ball and forcing mistakes on his opponent. The Indian fight virtually ended there and then. “A big disappointment”, said national coach Cyrus Poncha on the outcome when everything seemed going well for India.
Meanwhile the Indian girls had something to cheer later in the evening when they beat Singapore 2-1 and now is assured one of the top two places in Pool B and so a knock out berth.
Boys: Pool A: Pakistan bt India 2-1 ( Abbas Zeb bt Utkarsh Baheti 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9; Haris Qasim bt Veer Chotrani 10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-6; Mohammad Farhan Hashmi lost to Tushar Shahani 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 5-11) ; India bt Chinese Taipei 3-0 (Utkarsh Baheti bt Chen Wun-Lin 11-3, 11-5, 11-2; Veer Chotrani bt Chu Ching-Hsuan 11-1, 11-9, 11-3; Tushar Shahani bt Pan Shao-Yu 11-3, 11-2, 11-4)
Girls: India bt Singapore 2-1 (Sanya Vats lost to Sneha Sivakumar 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 10-12; Yoshna Singh bt Keertana Veerayah 11-5, 11-4, 11-9; Amira Singh bt Paige Hill 8-11, 11-2, 11-8,11-7)