Panchkula: High-Flyer Pawan Sehrawat was once again the hero for Bengaluru Bulls as they beat home team Haryana Steelers 56-39 in a highly entertaining VIVO Pro Kabaddi League match at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula on Wednesday.
The raider scored a record-shattering 39 points (breaking Pardeep Narwal’s previous record of 34 raid points in a match), three more than what the entire Steelers managed, as the defending champions secured a place in the season seven playoffs with the result.
The half began with Bengaluru looking sharp but a series of clever raids by Haryana’s Prashanth Kumar Rai meant the Steelers took control of the match. Vikas Kandola, playing in front of his home crowd, was instrumental in helping Steelers clinch an All-Out in the 8th minute of the match. But with the All-Out ended Haryana’s dominance as Pawan Sehrawat invoked his best to single-handedly change the tie in Bulls’ favour. His jump over a defensive chain in the 9th minute set the tone for a first-half blitzkrieg, reminiscent of his heroics in Season 6 finals, that saw the defending champions inflict two All-Outs (12th minute and 18th minute of the first half) on the Steelers. The ‘High-Flyer’ scored 18 raid points in the first half as the Bulls came back from trailing by 6 points to lead the match by 10 points at half-time (28-18).
Pawan continued his outstanding work in the second half, cruising to 26 raid points by the 10th minute of the second half. Unfortunately for him, Bulls’ defence were having an off-day which meant Prashanth Kumar Rai and Vikas Kandola kept picking up points for the Steelers to stay in the match. Prashanth Kumar picked his Super 10 but there was no stopping Pawan Sehrawat as he helped the Bulls secure another All-Out with seven minutes remaining to open up an incredible 14-point lead. The Bulls hit the 50-point mark with four minutes left in the game as the defence also took encouragement from Pawan’s game to start influencing the match. The deflated Steelers couldn’t find a way back as Pawan Sehrawat broke Pardeep Narwal’s record of 34 raid points in a match with 4 minutes still left in the game. Bulls got another All-Out with under two minutes left as they wrapped up a victory. Incredibly, Pawan Sehrawat finished the match on 39 points and was the only raider who scored points for the Bulls in what will for years be considered amongst the best raiding performances of all times.
With the Bulls securing a spot in the playoff, the last spot will now be closely fought between UP Yoddha and Telugu Titans.
U Mumba beat Patna Pirates 30-26
Meanwhile, ‘Sultan’ Fazel Atrachali starred in the defence once again as U Mumba produced a clinical performance to beat Patna Pirates 30-26 and seal a place in the playoff of VIVO Pro Kabaddi League Season Seven.
The captain led from the front as U Mumba neutralised Patna’s Pardeep Narwal with a strong performance in the defence in front of a packed audience at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula.
U Mumba started the first half brightly with the defence taking an aggressive stance from the first minute. The Mumbai side played like a team keen on sealing a playoff berth and Fazel Atrachali set the tone early with double thigh hold tackle on Patna’s lead raider Pardeep Narwal in the very first minute of the match. Abhishek Singh, ably supported by Athul MS, provided the firepower for Mumba in the raids as Mumbai cruised to a lead. The season two champions clinched their first All-Out of the match in the 9th minute to open up an 8-point lead. Fazel Atrachali reached the milestone of 300 overall points in VIVO Pro Kabaddi in the process. But Patna clawed their way back in the closing stages of the half thanks largely to improved performances by Pardeep Narwal and Jang Kun Lee. The ‘Dubki King’ Pardeep Narwal produced a two-point raid with under three minutes left for the half time to reduce Mumba’s lead to 5 points. The half ended 17-13 with Mumbai on top.
U Mumba started the second half with a Super Tackle on Pardeep Narwal but Patna composed themselves to stay in the match despite Pardeep being off the court for a long duration. Mohammad EsmaeilMaghsoudlou impressed with his all-round efforts while Jang Kun Lee’s improved raiding also helped Patna stay in touch. Fazel Atrachali meanwhile was giving everyone a masterclass on captaincy, marshalling and motivating his troops to stick to the gameplan. His pat on the head of Young Chang Ko after a mistimed tackle by the Korean indicated a strong sense of unity Fazel had inculcated in the team. Patna got lucky with 6 minutes remaining when Jang Kun Lee ventured out-of-bound and took three U Mumba defenders with him. With the point margin reduced to just a point and momentum heavily on Patna’s side, the three-time champions might have smelled an All-Out but Rohit Baliyan’s kick helped U Mumba revive another player to stay in the lead. The Mumbai defence held firm in the final minutes to clinch a seat in the playoffs.