December 15, 2010

Pakistan’s cueists fail to deliver in crunch games


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Pakistan’s campaign in the IBSF World’s Men Snooker Championship 2010, staged at the Al-Faiha Sports City in Damascus, Syria, came to a premature end with the exit of Imran Shahzad in the pre-quarter-finals on December 13

There were high hopes of the world crown returning to Pakistan after 16 long years when all the three participating cueists, Mohammad Sajjad, Sohail Shahzad and Imran Shahzad, had played remarkably well in the league matches.

While Sajjad and Sohail were eliminated in the round of 32, Imran went through to the pre-quarters where he was toppled by the veteran Alex Borg of Malta.

The vastly experienced Borg proved too much for Imran to down him 5-1 in the best of nine-frame encounter that remained one sided all the way. Borg triumphed with the frame scores of 61-24, 117-0, 78-33, 100-14, 43-62, 78-26.

Imran had stormed into the pre-quarters with an astonishing 5-1 win over Andreas Ploner of Austria with the frame scores of 102-0, 41-54, 112-32, 113-11, 79-27, 104-21 as he registered as many as two century breaks during the game in which he aggregated over 100 in two other frames as well.

The cueists from Thailand blew the whistle on the other two Pakistani youngsters, who had been in terrific form in the earlier games.

Noppadol Sangnil, who was the only cueist to have overpowered Mohammad Sajjad in the league matches, outwitted Sohail Shahzad 5-3 in their round of 32 fixture with the frame scores of 121-11, 102-8, 34-71, 70-28, 35-62, 54-62, 70-51.

It was certainly a keenly contested tie and the young Sohail, making his debut in the World Championship, had the satisfaction of having gone down fighting.

Dechawat Poomjaeng was even more ruthless while hammering Mohammad Sajjad in straight frames with the scores of 71-36, 72-71, 78-24, 83-42, 65-44. Pakistan’s premier cueist offered a challenge in each of the five frames, with the second one being the closest, but could not press home the advantage in any of them.

The failure of the Pakistan’s cueists in the knockout games once again brought to light their inability to handle the pressure. There remained question marks over their mental toughness.


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