Snooker: India enter Asian Championship knockouts


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.