Doha, September 22: The Indian team settled for the silver medal after losing to Pakistan 2-3 in the final of the Asian Team Snooker Championship in Doha. The Indian team had defeated Pakistan-2 in the semifinals earlier, defeating them 3-2 in a gruelling 259 semifinals. The Pakistan-1 team avenged their counterpart’s loss defeating India in the final to clinch gold.
After Babar Masih put a fluent 81 break to win the first frame against world champion Pankaj Advani, Malkeet Singh restored parity with a 52 break win over Mohammad Asif. The doubles was the turning point where Asif played out of his skin to pull back a 62-point deficit and allow his partner Masih to wrap up the frame 70-72.
Pushed on the back foot, Bengaluru-based Advani displayed fine potting to craft a frame-winning 68 break. It was then again down to Malkeet to save the day for India, but he could not on this occasion.
Hours before that, Malkeet played the match of his life under pressure to clinch the deciding frame against Pakistan 2 and a berth for the Indian team in the final.
Earlier, Advani had led India to the semifinals after defeating top seed Thailand to be assured of a medal. After qualifying from the group, the Indian team faced top seed Thailand in the quarterfinals and it emerged 3-0 victorious.
Pakistan-1 beat India 3-2 (Pankaj Advani lost to Babar Masih 2-110 (81); Malkeet Singh defeated Muhammad Asif 81 (52)-47; Doubles: Pakistan beat India 70-72: Pankaj Advani beat Muhammad Asif 107(68)-5; Malkeet Singh lost to Babar Masih 18-98.
(With inputs from PTI)