Defending champions Bengaluru Bulls produced a gritty defensive performance as they staged a comeback to beat Patna Pirates 34-32 in their opening encounter on the first day of the seventh season of Pro Kabaddi in Hyderabad.

In the first match of the opening day, U Mumba defeated hosts Telugu Titans 30-25.

The defensive duo of Amit Sheoran (five points) and Ashish Sangwan (four points) were the chief architects of Bulls’ victory on Saturday. Bulls’ star raider Pawan Sehrawat chipped in with nine crucial raid points. For Patna Pirates, their record-breaking raider Pardeep Narwal got a super 10 while Mohammed Maghsoudlou with nine points put in a strong all-round performance but they just fell short.

Bengaluru Bulls put on a solid display of strength as they forced multiple super tackles to begin their title defence in style.

In the first few minutes of the match it was all Bulls as captain Rohit Kumar scored raid points to give his team 5-1 lead. Mohammed Maghsoudlou put in a tremendous super tackle to revive Patna. Narwal, then, got going as he scored his first raid point in the ninth minute. On the other hand, Bulls’ Sehrawat had a quiet beginning to the match as Patna’s defence did a fine job on him.

Pirates led 9-7 after 12 minutes when Bulls put in a super tackle through Sangwan. In the 16th minute Pirates inflicted the first all out of the match to lead 14-11. At the end of the first half, Patna Pirates held a slender four-point advantage to lead 17-13.

Bulls’ defence showed their value in the second half as they piled on super tackles to make a comeback in the match. In the 34th minute, Bulls inflicted an all out to lead 30-26 and Patna were staring at a defeat. Patna stayed in touching distance but suffered a defeat in their first match of the season.

Earlier, Abhishek Singh’s excellent raid performance with 10 points and Iran star Fazel Attrachali’s strong defence performance laid the foundations of U Mumba’s victory. U Mumba’s defence put in a strong defensive performance to contain Titans’ star raider Siddharth Desai throughout the match.