Mumbai: U Mumba entered the finals of the second season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi with a comfortable 35-18 win over Patna Pirates at the Dome @SVP, NSCI here in Mumbai. It was a team effort by the winning team, with Anup Kumar yet again marshalling his resources like a true leader. The match saw Surender Nada and Mohit Chhillar, unleashing their ruthlessness while effecting tackle after tackle on the relatively inexperienced Patna raiders. Surender came up with 10 tackle points with one super tackle, a record for a defender.
The winners fielded Shabeer Bapu Sharfudeen who too impressed in the important first session. It also proved his level of fitness for the decisive battle on Sunday when UMumba face the Bengaluru Bulls. The winners led 22-6 at the breather after inflicting two all-outs by the 11th minute and 19th minute. Patna on their part just couldn’t put up a fight as their rivals raced at break neck speed. Rishank Devadiga scored four points including a bonus, Anup came up with three and Shabeer with four to make things easy for their team.
After having established a stranglehold on the match, U Mumba never relented in the second half. They even stared at an all-out but they managed to pull themselves out. At 23-10 and just three men on court in the 25th minute they were in deep trouble. But Jeeva Kumar who was also one of the pillars in U Mumba’s defence came up with a super tackle on Deepak Narwal to turn the tide.
With the match almost in the pocket Anup came up with his pet tactic of running down the clock and Rishank and Shabeer taking the responsibility of the do-or-die raids Mumbai encountered no trouble thereafter. The second half was literally a Surender, Mohit and Jeeva show as they immobilised raider after rival raider to seal the tie.
Sandeep Narwal the Patna captain got injured and the introduction of Vijay Malik also proved ineffective. Gurvinder, Deepak and even the speedy Korean Tae Deok Eom had no answers as Mumbai frustrated them by not catching them till they were sure.
U Mumba’s solid defender Vishal Mane spoke highly of his team’s efforts to reach the finals. “Both our defence and offence is strong and this was the reason for all our successes. Our aim was to win with a point margin of at least 10-15 points. From the first match itself, we wanted to reach the finals and we have achieved this which is good.”
When being asked about their strategy, Vishal indicated the same point, “Our strategy is that our defence and offence are both strong. And we accomplished that to reach the finals.”
“Shabeer Bapu getting caught 4 times is nothing to be worried about”, said Vishal Mane. Rishank Devadiga, who was also present, pointed out that their strategy meant that Shabeer would go for the do-or-die raid. The leaders of the U Mumba defence and offence are Anup Kumar and Jeeva Kumar respectively and they led their departments very well, according to Vishal Mane.
Captain Anup Kumar was wary of their opponents in the finals, Bengaluru Bulls. “This game wasn’t easy at all and the game on Sunday also will not be easy. We want to perform to our best in the final with full power. Bengaluru Bulls have a raider short and they use Manjeet (Chhillar) as a 3rd raider. If we get Manjeet early, their defence also will weaken.”
Compared to last year’s combined prize money of Rs 1 crore, this year, the finalists (U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls) will be competing for a prize money amount of Rs 1 crore. The runners-up will be awarded Rs 50 lakhs and the 3rd place finishers will receive a prize money of Rs 30 lakhs and the 4th place finishers Rs 20 lakhs.