Qualifier Amit Bhushan makes it to the round of 32
Alok Kumar maintained his hundred per cent record in the group stage but not before surviving a scare from Mumtaz Ali in the men's snooker event of the Hash10 World Sim Nationals here on Saturday. It was also a good day for qualifier Amit Bhushan, who upset Rupesh Shah in his last group stage encounter, to make it to the round of 32.
Alok Kumar, who had already qualified for the knockout stage, could not get off to a good start. His best break of the frame was a paltry eight as Mumtaz Ali's breaks of 24 and 20 gave him the lead 64-31.
There was a change of tactics by Alok Kumar, as the veteran gave up on his chances to build a break to play the waiting game instead. Each of his pots was followed by touching the cue ball behind a colour, forcing Mumtaz Ali to either go for a high risk pot at the other end of the table or concede the foul. Alok Kumar's defensive play gave him the frame 53-8.
Alok Kumar continued with his cautious ways, but Mumtaz Ali reaped the rewards for attempting to break out, as he ran up a 48-20 lead. With just the colours on the table (green and upwards) the cueists attempted to break the position down for a good 20 minutes before Mumtaz Ali claimed the frame 59-27.
Mumtaz Ali could have won the next frame and with it the match, but failed to make his lead count as Alok Kumar cleared the table to take the contest to a decider, which he won comfortably.
Amit Bhushan, in only his second year at the senior level, pulled off the biggest win of his career when he came back from being 40 points down at 1-2, to win his group match 3-2 (65-51, 59-67, 60-41, 82-70, 61-40) against Rupesh Shah.
Qualifiers Jassim Tawin and Rajkumar, also of Karnataka, joined Bhushan in the round of 32.
Yasin Merchant, Manu Dev, Manan Chandra and Brijesh Damani expectedly navigated past the group stages as well.
Aditya Mehta, one of India's few professional snooker players, got his campaign off to a winning start, getting the better of Manish Jain 81-6, 41-74, 89-0, 62-58 in a testing encounter.
The results (group stage, best-of-five frames): Group A: Nikhil Ootam (Mah) bt Ranbir Singh (Raj) 64-18, 50-22, 58-8. Group B: Vijay Nichani (TN) bt Rajat Khenja (Chn) 78-38, 25-7, 80-13, 68-34. Group C: Sumit Talwar (Chn) bt Simrankeet Singh (Raj) 68-49, 71-39, 43-56, 73-14. Group D: Gurvinder Gulati (Pun) bt Vikas Sharma (UP) 64-41, 60-45, 28-55, 47-83, 72-28. Group E: Amarnath Sharma (Meg) bt Sumesh Turki (J&K) 50-44, 31-58, 59-25, 61-49; Aditya Mehta (Mah) bt Manish Jain (WB) 81-6, 41-74, 89-0, 62-58. Group G: Sarang Shroff (Mah) bt Nigel D'Souza (Goa) 75-29, 45-12, 58-20; Alok Kumar (PSPB) bt Mumtaz Ali (Jha) 31-64, 53-8, 27-59, 49-41, 71-13. Group H: Siddarth Rao (TN) bt Lallawmkima (Miz) 38-42, 88-14, 78-2, 72-8. Group I: Malkeet Singh (UP) bt R. Loganathan (TN) 91-20, 85-57, 63-20. Group J: K. Venkatesam (Rly) bt Jeet Kishore (Ori) 73-31, 13-65, 55-9, 46-73, 63-42. Group K: Sandeep Gulati (Del) bt Jay Shankar (Jha) 50-26, 72-13, 78-13. Group L: Jasim Tawin (Kar) bt Lalrina Renthlei (Miz) 28-66, 72-30, 66-4, 56-13. Group M: Divya Sharma (Har) bt Shabaz Khan (PSPB) 65-42, 70-45, 50-83, 55-52; Faisal Khan (Rly) bt Subrat Das (WB) 12-46, 75-16, 68-2, 87-9. Group N: Nigel Lazer (TN) bt Nitin Agarwal (MP) 58-38, 56-41, 67-49. Group O: Amit Bhushan (Kar) bt Rupesh Shah (PSPB) 65-51, 59-67, 60-41, 82-70, 61-40. Group P: D. Rajkumar (Kar) bt Manish Morani (Meg) 73-13, 64-16, 63-10.
Keywords: Hash10 World Sim Nationals