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Snooker: India enter Asian Championship knockouts

AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu SARKAR

India entered the knockout stages of the Asian Team Snooker Championship after finishing second in their group. India got the better of Qatar and Sri Lanka by 3-0 margins, but lost 3-2 to Thailand in the final match of the four-team group, thereby conceding top spot.

India started on the wrong foot against Thailand, with Manan Chandra losing to Ratchayothin Yotharuck 65-30. However, Pankaj Advani leveled the score by defeating Yuttapop Pakpoj 70-37. Advani and Aditya Mehta then put India 2-1 in front by drubbing the pair of Yotharuck and Pakpoj 94-13, but 20-year-old Yotharuck created a big upset when he overcame Advani 85-0. Pakpoj then sealed Thailand's place at the top of the group by beating Chandra 62-54.

Earlier, Advani had spearheaded India past Qatar. He gave the team a 1-0 lead when he outclassed Ahmed Saif 70-16. That lead was then increased to 2-0 by Chandra, who defeated Mohsin Bukshaisha 70-45. In the deciding doubles contest, Advani and Chandra got the better of Saif and Ali Alobaidly 88-11. India were equally impressive in dispatching Sri Lanka by a similar margin, winning the two singles matches 61-12 and 79-1 before sewing up the tie with an 86-1 win in the doubles match.

Thailand, India's main rival in the group, also won against Qatar (3-2) and Lanka (3-0) before edging out India to top the group.