The Indian duo of Pankaj Advani and Manan Chandra staged a remarkable recovery to pip Pakistan in the final of the inaugural IBSF Snooker Team World Cup in Doha. After being 0-2 down in the best-of-five final played on Friday night, India found themselves in a deeper hole at 0-30 down in the third frame. Thanks to a well-crafted 39 break from Chandra and a classy clearance of the final colours by Advani, the Indian hopes were kept alive.
In the fourth frame, even though Advani found himself in a spot of bother when trailing 1-20 against Babar Masih, he took charge of the proceedings and displayed his mastery once again by clearing the table with a 69 break.
With this India drew parity with Pakistan and it all boiled down to the final frame to determine the first winners of the inaugural event. Chandra and Muhammad Asif found themselves in a seesaw frame but it was the Indian who changed gears and did most of the scoring with every given opportunity. Eventually, Chandra only needed the green to be in the safe zone leaving his opponent requiring snookers. But with a long pot on the brown, the humbled Pakistani conceded the frame and match.
The Indians made a shaky start in the final with Masih scoring a convincing 73-24 win over Chandra in the opener. Asif then went on to steal the second frame from Advani and win it on the black ball 61-56.
With the Indian team 0-2 down, it had to dig deep and win every frame thereafter. The third frame was a doubles match in which both Indians played out of their skin to stay alive in the final, winning it 72-47. "After it became 2-0 in the favour of Pakistan, we knew our chances of winning were slim and had our task cut out. After winning the doubles frame we saw a glimmer of hope and knew now it was up to us to dig deep and individually win both our singles matches to pull off a Houdini," said Advani.
“Manan played exceptional snooker especially in the crucial deciders of the semifinal and final, when it mattered most. I'm really happy for him to win his first world title,” added Advani, who increased his tally of world titles to a staggering 19.