Iran Succumb to Power Thailand in Straight Set
Teen sensation Pimpichaya Kokram turned a smashing machine on Friday as she steered Thailand to a convincing straight-set 25-12 25-12 25-21 victory over underdogs Iran in their last Pool A preliminary clash of the “SMM” 5th AVC Cup for Women at the Vinh Phuc Gymnasium here.
Thailand fielded several young talents to gain competition experience. They included three teenagers Pimpichaya, Chatchu-on Moksri and Tichaya Boonlert, and fast spiker Hattaya Bamrungsuk, with veteran Wilavan Apinyapong strengthening the team, while Iran also sent in those from the second string which included Foumani Shirtari and Neda Chamlanian.
Pimpichaya scored the Thailand’s four points of the first seven to help the team take an initial 7-2 lead. Iran started with errors-filled performance to trail far behind 10-20. As their defence was impenetrable, allowing the Iranians difficulties to score, Thailand advanced 24-12, needing only one more point to wrap up the one-sided set. The wait did not last long when Farnoosh’s serve went to the net and Thailand bagged the first set 25-12 without much trouble.
The second set turned out to be the similar fashion when Thailand proved their class above Iran. With Pimpichaya tearing the Iranian defence into pieces with her exceptional cross-court spikes and Hattaya and Tichaya producing scintillating blocks, Thailand clinched the easy set with the same margin 25-12.
In the third set, Pimpichaya continued her sparkling form with sharp attacks to put Thailand in the pole position 20-16. Iran regained their composure to hit back with attacks to reduce the gap 21-23. However, the Thai team made short work of the Iranians, allowing them no more point to capture the set 25-21 and match.
The straight-set win over Iran gave Thailand a clean sweep in Pool A in the one-week tournament and after the rest day on Saturday, the world No.14 and 2012 champions will resume their competition in the knockout quarter-finals, where they are due to take on Pool B fourth place Korea.
As expected, Pimpichaya Kokram scored a team-high 12 points, all of them from her deadly attacks. Wilavan Apinyapong contributed with 8 kills. Jarasporn Bundasak and Chatchu-on Moksri added with 3 apiece from blocking and serving. Neda Chamlanian led Iran with 10 points including 9 kills from 35 attempts.
“I’m very happy that my team won again. In this match, I fielded several young players to give them a chance to gain valuable experience and at the same time, I sent in veteran Wilavan (Apinyapong) to help the team on defence. They did a great job. However, the third set was tough for us as Iran started to learn our tactics and they fought back strongly to match us tactically. Today, Pimpichaya might serve as the backbone of Thailand as she scored several points through her attacks. We now top Pool A and next take on Korea in the knockout quarter-finals and I’m still upbeat that we can beat them to win a semi-final berth,” commented Thailand’s head coach Danai Sriwacharamethakul after the match.