Rohit Kumar’s impressive show helped defending champions Bengaluru Bulls beat league toppers Jaipur Pink Panthers 41-30 in a Pro Kabbadi match at the Thyagaraj Complex in New Delhi on Sunday.
Rohit finished the match with 13 raid points as Bengaluru inflicted a heavy, demoralising loss on the season one champions.
The raiding performance by Rohit Kumar also saw him cross 50 raid points for the season but the game was won by Bulls’ all-round performance that saw their defenders Mahender Singh, Saurabh Nandal and Mohit Sehrawat secure High 5s (5 tackle points) – a first in Pro Kabaddi League history.
The match had been billed as a battle between attack vs defence as the league’s second-best raiding unit Bengaluru Bulls (averaging 19 raid points per match) took on the best defending unit Jaipur Pink Panthers (11.5 tackle points per match).
And it was the raider-heavy side that started the half positively, with captain Rohit impressing in his raids.
Jaipur had been struggling in the raids in the recent past, and the trend continued as captain Deepak Niwas Hooda struggled to lead his unit’s attack.
The Bulls’ defence, manned by Mahender Singh and Saurabh Nandal, were in no mood to let Jaipur’s raider settle into the match, strangling Pink Panthers’ ability to score points.
A Rohit raid in the 12th minute led to the first All-Out of the match as the Bulls cruised to a 9 point lead.
The first half ended with the scores 22-8 with Bulls dominating in every aspect of the game. The Bulls were blamed for taking their foot off the pedals in their narrow loss against Dabang Delhi in their previous encounter and it was not surprising to see the team continue their aggression on the mat.
The Bengaluru team inflicted the second All-Out on the Pink Panther three minutes into the second half as the Bulls took the lead.
For once, Pawan Sehrawat was playing a secondary role in the attack for Bengaluru as Rohit took on the lead like a man with a point to prove.
Rohit’s Super Raid in the eighth minute of the second half which took out Jaipur’s big defenders Sandeep Dhull, Nitin Rawal and Santhapanaselvam and gave him a Super 10 (10 raid points) was a glowing testimony to his raiding prowess and Bengaluru’s form.
Sushil Gulia’s two-point raid with 7 minutes in the clock helped Pink Panthers inflict an All-Out on the Bulls to reduce the lead to 12 points.
But the surge came late for the Pink Panthers as Bengaluru Bulls continued their aggression to wrap the match up.
Delhi continue dream run at home
Naveen Kumar was once again the star for home side Dabang Delhi as they beat UP Yoddha 36-27 in the second Pro Kabaddi match on Sunday.
The 19-year-old raider picked up a Super 10 (16 points), seventh consecutive time he has hit the milestone this season, as Dabang picked up an important victory that kept their 100% win at home intact and pushed them to the top of the Season 7 points table.
Meraj Sheykh got a place in the starting 7 for Dabang Delhi after his influential cameo in their win against Bengaluru Bulls in Delhi’s previous outing while there was no Rishank Devadiga in the seven for UP Yoddha who went in with Monu Goyat as their chief raider.
The UP team rushed to a 4-0 lead in the early minutes as Monu Goyat impressed with his raids. But the home side clawed their way back, riding on Naveen Kumar’s raiding abilities with his two-point raid, taking out Ashu Singh and Amit in the 9th minute levelled the match at 6-6.
Naveen Kumar was once again in the limelight as his raid with two minutes remaining to the half time enforced the first all-out of the match on Yoddha. The closely contested first half ended 15-11 in favour of the home side.
Naveen Kumar, for Delhi, and Monu Goyat, for UP, both raiders from Bhiwani (Haryana) were having a great day on the mat for their sides but Delhi’s defence marshalled by Ravinder Pahal and Vishal Mane proved to slightly better than Yoddha’s defence as Delhi opened up a healthy seven-point lead six minutes into the second half.
Pahal picked his and the team’s first High 5 of the season as the home side stamped their authority on the match. But the game belonged to Delhi’s young raider-in-chief though and it was hardly surprising to see Naveen Kumar be in the thick of things as Delhi forced another all-out on UP with five minutes remaining in the match. The raid also helped Naveen cross the 100-point mark in Season 7 (the second raider to do so after Bengaluru Bulls’ Pawan Sehrawat) and open up an 11-point gap.
A four-point super raid by substitute Rishank Devadiga with less than four minutes remaining led to a tense end to the match but Naveen Kumar made sure there would be no let-offs with a few important raids in ending minutes. UP were found wanting despite a Super 10 by Monu Goyat and would be looking to tighten their defence going forward.