Malaysia outplayed Pakistan in a nerve-tingling final by 5-4 to win the men’s team gold as curtains fell on the 10-day World 6-Red and Team Snooker Championship at the Movenpick Hotel here on Saturday.
The Malaysian pair of Keen Hoo Moh-Kok Leong Lim fought tooth and nail to turn the tables on Pakistan’s Asjad Iqbal and Shahid Aftab in the best of nine frames battle (40-71, 77-20, 66-73, 101-6, 73-42, 0-67, 38-63, 102-25, 53-43) to become the new champions. Earlier, the title was held by Hong Kong who made exit in the last four. Earlier in the morning, luck eluded another Pakistan combination of Mohammad Yousuf and Naveen Perwani as they tasted 2-5 loss at the hands of Afghanistan duo of Saleh Mohammad and Zemarai Hassas in the master’s team event final. It is pertinent to mention that Indian Pankaj Advani had retained the preceding men’s 6-Red title while Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee had become women’s 6-Red champion.
It was anybody’s game as both teams played very well till the decisive ninth frame and in the end we won, a beaming Keen Hoo Moh, who is also Asian 6-Red champion, told media. The 28-year-old Moh specially commended the performance of Asjad in the final. Pakistan were 1-0 and 2-1 up against their opponents who not only drew level but surged 3-2 up. Pakistan then won back-to-back frames, a doubles and a single, to again take 4-3 lead. But that proved to be the end for them as after putting up resolute fight, they lost the following two frames to suffer 4-5 defeat.
Meanwhile, Pakistan proved to be a happy hunting ground for former Asian champion Saleh Mohammad who together with team mate Zemarai Hassas landed yet another crown at his former home soil. It may be mentioned that Saleh had won the Asian snooker title in the city two years back after a wait of 20 years. Our morale was high after triumph over India in the semi-finals the other day and we justified by gtting the better of Pakistan, a beaming Saleh said. Commenting on the match veteran world snooker champion Yousuf said: It was not my day. I played below my form and not supported my partner when needed, he said.
The victorious Malaysian team received winning purse of $2400, gold medals and shield from sponsor Tahir Ahmed, managing director Jubilee General Insurance at the presentation ceremony that followed the final. Pakistan team received $1200, silver medals and runner-up trophy. The losing semi-finalists and quarter-finalists were also awarded US $ 600 and 300 respectively. Highest break award of $300 went to Pakistan’s Mohammad Sajjad who registered a break of 138.
Men’s team event final:
Malaysia (Keen Hoo Moh-Kok Leong Lim) bt Pakistan 3 (Asjad Iqbal and Shahid Aftab) 5-4 (40-71, 77-20, 66-73, 101-6, 73-42, 0-67, 38-63, 102-25, 53-43)
Master’s team event final:
Afghanistan (Saleh Mohammad and Zemarai Hassas) bt Pakistan I (Mohammad Yousuf and Naveen Perwani) 5-2 ((81-56, 73-23, 2-59, 21-62, 54-38, 54-48, 65-9)