Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, May 27, 2017 – Kazakhstan survived a serious threat from Pakistan to edge past their rivals 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 25-22, 18-25, 15-13) at the Central Asian Zonal Qualification Tournament for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship at the Gazprom Gym in Bishkek on Saturday.
Pakistan, who narrowly beat hosts Kyrgyzstan in a hard-fought five-set battle the previous day in the single round-robin, three-team tournament, attacked well and blocked effectively to lead from start to finish in the first set.
Kazakhstan came back strongly in the second set, overcoming their service mistakes and showing their attacking and blocking prowess. As Pakistan tried to catch up, Kazakhstan went on the attack and took the second set.
Kazakhstan remained in impressive form in the third set although Pakistan upped their tempo in a determined fightback, but Kazakhstan sealed the set 25-22 for a 2-1 lead.
Both sides improved their service, attack and blocking in the crucial fourth set, but Kazakhstan became prone to hasty, unforced mistakes. Pakistan attacked fiercely and took the set 25-18, setting up a tiebreak finale.
Kazakhstan and Pakistan fought neck and neck in the decider as they traded points, but Kazakhstan’s final assault saw them take the fifth set 15-13 and the 2-hour, 15-minute match 3-2.
Donets Vasiliy scored a match-high 26 points for Kazakhstan, including 15 attack hits and five blocks. Vorivodin Vitaliy contributed 25 points, including 16 kills and three stuff blocks. Aimal Khan led Pakistan with 20 points from 17 kills, one block and 2 two service aces.
Kazakhstan will next take on hosts Kyrgyzstan on Sunday. The team with the best performance in the three-day meet will capture the top honour and the lone berth to contest the Final Round Qualifications in Iran in August.
For more information on the Asian qualifiers, click here.