The Indian volleyball team wrapped up their campaign at the Men’s Continental Tokyo Volleyball Qualification event — a 2020 Olympic qualifier — in Jiangmen, China with a 1-3 loss to Australia on Thursday.
Coming into the match with nothing other than pride at stake, the Indian spikers began well and matched the Aussies shot-for-shot to take the opening set 27-25. But as the tie progressed, the losing finalists at the 2019 Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championships settled into their rhythm to win the match 25-27, 25-21, 25-21, 25-22.
India, as a result, endured a winless streak in the competition after they went down to Qatar and South Korea earlier in the tournament.
With nothing to lose in the competition, the Indian spikers started the match on a fine note. While the likes of Amit and Ajithlal Chandran showed great maturity to find openings and land a few telling blows with their spikes, C Jerome Vinith and Deepesh Kumar Sinha took up the onus of pulling off a few quality blocks to deny the Aussies.
Amit’s quality show in the attack saw him end the match as India’s top scorer with 13 points (12 in the attack, one from his serve) while the Kerala duo of Chandra and Vinith garnered 11 points each.
Making an impact on the scoresheet was also GS Akhin who continued from where he left off against South Korea on Wednesday to muster a total of nine points to keep his side in the hunt throughout the match.
Though they lost the opening set to a close margin, that barely seemed to bother the Australians as they regrouped well in time to rally back and win the following three to close the tie.
Leading the charge for the Aussies was Thomas Edgar, one of their most experienced players. The opposite spiker who plays for the JT Thunders in Japan’s V.League Division 1 was in fine form as notched up a total of 27 points (25 in attack and two from his serves).
Samuel Walker and Jordan Richards, meanwhile, played the anchor role registering 20 and 12 points each to their names respectively.
The win pushes Australia into the second spot in Pool B but they will have to await the result between Qatar and South Korea to establish if they make it to the semi-finals.