Malaysia's Hanafiah Dolah (top) blocks a shot by Singapore's Hafiz Nor Izam at the ISTAF SuperSeries Finals 2013-14. Malaysia won 2-0. – Bernama Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: Thailand looked cool, calm and collected as they easily romped to a 2-0 victory over India in their opening men’s Group A match of the ISTAF SuperSeries Finals 2013-14.
Despite fielding a second-string side, the top-seeded Thais took just 21 minutes to carve out a 15-8, 15-6 victory over India at the Titiwangsa Stadium on Wednesday.
India started the match with a win in the bag after beating Germany 2-1 (15-10, 13-15, 15-8). However, they stood little chance against the mighty Thais.
Thailand had started the match with the pairing of Kitsana Tanakorn (tekong), and Supachai Maneenat (killer) and Somporn Jaisinghol (feeder) before swapping Kitsana and Supachai for tekong Sitipong Kamchan and killer Treepong Rawangpai respectively.
“Today’s match was like a warm-up for us. Our focus today was to test out our tekongs to see if they are competent enough to handle the pressure of playing in the Finals. It was an easy game, but I’m quite satisfied with how they played,” said coach Komkrit Tubkaew.
Thailand will face Germany in what Komkrit also categorised as a practice match.
“The match against Germany will be another chance for us to test out our pairings. It will help us gauge their performance better,” added Komkrit.
In Group B, hosts Malaysia had little trouble beating neighbours Singapore 15-5, 15-8 in 25 minutes.
Malaysia started off with the trio of tekong Izurin Refin, feeder Muqlis Borhan and killer Hanafiah Dolah while 18-year-old tekong Syahir Rosdi and killer Khairol Zaman Hamir Akhbar were also tested late in the second set.
“Being the first match, I think they did well. We saw just how crucial the role of the tekong is and Izurin did a great job in the first set. We lost momentum in the second and Singapore were gaining in confidence,” said national coach Jamaluddin Hasan.
“We gave the young ones a taste of playing in this kind of boisterous atmosphere and they’ll have to get used to that. Hopefully, we’ll be more ruthless in our following matches,” he added.