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History repeats itself as India upend China
Everyone was shocked when India upset China in Wuhan in the 2014, and the effect here was pretty much the same as India entered the game toting a 1-win, 2-loss card opposite China’s unblemished slate. Amjyot Singh was the high man in 2014, scoring 14 points as India pulled the rug from under China, 65-58, and this time it was his fronctourt partner, Amritpal Singh, who carried the team to the momentous triumph.
Turning Point: Things were rather unremarkable early on with China leading after one quarter, 17-14, and coach Li Nan’s wards putting up a lead that stood the highest at 9 points in the middle of the second period. That, however, was when things started to turn. With China leading, 27-18, at the 4:53 mark of the second quarter, India tightened up on defense and let loose on offense. Amritpal and Amjyot paired up to spark a 13-2 run that ended the first half and handed India a slim 2-point advantage at the break. Try as they might, the Chinese would never be able to retake the lead.
Stats Don't Lie: India’s size gave China a lot of trouble here, as proven by coach Sat Prakash Yadav’s wards winning the battle of the boards, 45-37. The Indians’ defense also did a very good job of forcing the Chinese into errors. Coach Li’s wards turned the ball over 21 times in the game, resulting in 22 points off turnovers for India.
Game Hero: 2.07m 25-year-old Amritpal Singh was nothing short of herculean in this match up. Amritpal, who plays professionally in Japan, recorded 23 points, hauled down 14 rebounds, blocked 3 shots and had 3 steals in a mesmerizing show of skill in the paint. He outplayed China’s erstwhile star big man, Hu Jinqiu, who managed 19 points and 9 boards.
The Bottom Line: This was exactly the kind of shot in the arm that India needed to revive what seemed like a waning campaign. India seemed a little listless in their last two games, but this served notice that, at their best, the Indians can beat anyone on any given night. As for China, it’s back to the drawing board for coach Li and his boys, especially as they face bitter rival Chinese Taipei on the final day of Group E play.