Bengaluru: Home side Bengaluru Bulls produced a remarkable comeback to beat three-time VIVO Pro Kabaddi League champions Patna Pirates 40-39 in a thrilling encounter in front of a jam-packed audience at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Pawan Sehrawat, with another Super 10 (17 raid points), was once again the star for the defending champions in a match that saw Patna Pirates lead for a long time. Pardeep Narwal’s Super 10 (14 raid points) for the Pirates went in vain as defensive blunders at crucial junctures of the match saw the win slip away from their clutches.
All the talk leading up to the match had been about the star raiders on display. Pardeep Narwal and Pawan Sehrawat are perhaps the biggest names in Kabaddi at the moment and the duo certainly did not disappoint in a first half that saw multiple audacious raids by the superstars. ‘Dubki King’ Pardeep Narwal started off the proceedings on the front foot, picking valuable points for a struggling Patna side with clever raids. Pawan Sehrawat was equally good in his raids but Patna’s defence was better than Bull’s in the first half.
Pardeep Narwal’s two-point raid in the 13th minute inflicted the first All-Out on the home side and stretch the lead to six points in favour of the three-time champions. Pardeep then produced a stunning four-point raid ( taking out Mahender Singh, Mohit Sehrawat, Rohit Kumar and Amit Sheoran) in the 15th minute to build up a healthy lead for the Pirates. Bengaluru’s biggest problem on the mat was their captain Rohit Kumar’s poor day as a raider. He didn’t get a single point in a first half that saw Patna take a six-point lead to the break (22-16).
Patna began the second half strongly but this time thanks to their defence. The Iranian duo of Mohammad Esmaeil Maghsoudlou and Hardi Osthorak produced mighty Super Tackles for the Patna team to push them further ahead. But Rohit Kumar broke his jinx in the second half and was in the points for the Bulls as they slowly reduced the Pirates on the mat. Amit Kumar, the last man on the mat for Patna, produced a Super Raid with under seven minutes remaining in the clock to revive two Patna players.
The Bulls did eventually get their All-Out, despite all the efforts by Pardeep Narwal (who secured his Super 10 in the process) with under four minutes remaining. Pawan Sehrawat produced a two-point raid in the dying minutes to complete the comeback, clinching a personal milestone of 500 Pro Kabaddi League points, to tie the match at 38-38 and the Bulls’ defence held firm in the last minute to clinch an important victory.
Dabang Delhi K.C. side beat Jaipur Pink Panthers 46-44
Meanwhile, Naveen ‘Express’ Kumar proved once again why he is regarded as one VIVO Pro Kabaddi League’s best raiders as he helped his Dabang Delhi K.C. side win 46-44 against Jaipur Pink Panthers at the SreeKanteevara Stadium in Bengalurua on Wednesday.
The raider picked up 16 points, including a record-setting 10th consecutive Super 10, as the Delhi side overcame a stiff challenge from Jaipur Pink Panthers to consolidate their position on top of the points table.
The first half of the match saw both teams trade major blows. The Delhi unit had a dream start to the match when their raider Chandran Ranjit pulled off a might 5-point raid in the second minute of the match to severely reduce the Jaipur men on the mat. The Pink Panthers, who went into the game of the back of a three-match losing streak, looked clueless as a dominant Delhi side inflicted the first All-Out of the match in the fourth minute (fastest All-Out this season).
Jaipur didn’t take the All-Out lightly though and captain Deepak Niwas Hooda initiated a comeback with some strong raids. Nitin Rawal picked up a five-point raid in the 12th minute to clean up the Delhi players and force an All-Out on the table toppers. The closely-fought first half ended with Dabang Delhi leading by two points (21-19).
The second half, much like the first, started with the Delhi side on the front foot. But Sachin Narwal produced an important two-point raid that saved the Pink Panthers from an All-Out and handed the momentum to the Season one winners. Elavarasan produced two mighty Super Tackles as the Pink Panthers started moving into a lead and the Jaipur team inflicted another All-Out on Delhi in the 12th minute of the second half to make the scores 35-29 in their favour.
The incredible Naveen Kumar kept the Delhi side in the game though, clinching his 10th consecutive Super 10 with five minutes remaining. A three-point raid by Delhi's Vijay in the dying minutes made it a close affair. And not surprisingly it was the table-toppers who calmed their nerves to pick a final minute All-out that pushed them to a 2-point lead that proved enough for a win. Jaipur will only have themselves to blame for the loss, throwing away big leads in the second half, and will be looking to rectify them before their next match against the Haryana Steelers.