India are a step closer to finishing among the top three of ISTAF SuperSeries India 2013-14 Sepaktakraw competition by beating Iran at Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi on Saturday.

The first regu of Akash Singh, Sandeep Kumar and G. Jiteshor Sharma defeated the Iranians 9-15, 15-11, 17-16, 15-10 to book a semifinal spot against second seeds Malaysia, who defeated Singapore 3-0 to claim their place in the last four.

Despite losing the first set, India showed they meant business when they led from the start of the second set. A series of errors in the third set saw the Iranians take an 11-5 lead until Akash and with his spikes levelled the score (12-12).

Both teams traded points until the explosive striker settled the set with a spike to give the Indians a narrow 17-16 win. It was all over for Iran in the fourth as India, cheered by the crowd, led from 2-2 right up to the end.

“It was an outstanding win for us as Iran played very well. The team played with full confidence and we knew from the start that we would be playing in the semifinal,” said coach Hemraj.

In the women’s competition, India suffered their fourth consecutive loss, falling 14-16, 12-15, 13-15, 13-15, 13-15 to Japan in the playoff for the fifth place.

The trio of Kh. Omita Devi, Chaouba Devi and Bijata Chamu did well to win the first two sets but Japan battled their way back in the third after falling behind. They then wrapped things up despite India{gt}s best efforts in the last two sets to claim their first win.

India lost 0-3 to Indonesia, 0-3 to Vietnam and 0-3 to South Korea in their Group A matches. They will once again meet South Korea in their last match of the tournament.

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