Star raider Pawan Sehrawat was once again the hero for home side Bengaluru Bulls as they beat Telugu Titans in an entertaining final match of Pro Kabaddi’s Bengaluru leg at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Friday.
The raider scored a massive 22 raid points for the Bulls but the defending champions had to struggle for their victory largely due to Siddharth Desai’s raiding prowess at the other end for the Titans.
Desai too finished with 22 raid points but a few errors, especially from league’s best defender Vishal Bhardwaj, proved too costly for the Titans against their South Indian rivals.
Sehrawat’s form for the Bengaluru Bulls meant Telugu Titan opted for a defensive approach from the start. Their Iranian coach Gholamreza Mazandarani sacrificed Suraj Desai for Krushna Madane, an extra defender, in the lineup with a clear strategy to of stifling the raiding duo of Pawan and Rohit Kumar.
And to a certain extent, the strategy worked in an evenly contested first half that saw both sides trade blow for blow. Siddharth Desai picked up important points for the Titans in the raids while Pawan and Rohit did the same for the defending champions.
Titans and Siddharth’s strategy to rely on bonus points was however slightly bewildering and that allowed Bulls to dominate the latter stages of the first half which ended 15-12 in favour of Bengaluru. More importantly, they had the Titans in a spot of bother with just two remaining on the mat and facing an all-out.
The Bulls got their first all-out in the second minute after the restart but Telugu Titans dominated the minutes that followed with Siddharth Desai picking up some crucial points.
But the Titans’ brief period of dominance ended when Sehwarat produced a super raid to clinch three points for the Bulls and most importantly send the defensive trio of Vishal Bhardwaj, Abozar Mighani, and Krushna Madane to the bench.
The move was followed by a tackle on Siddharth Desai as the Bulls took charge of the game once again. The home side inflicted another all-out with seven minutes remaining to move to a nine-point lead.
A late surge, championed by Siddharath Desai’s six-point raid (taking out Mohit Sehrawat, Mahender Singh, Rohit Kumar, and Saurabh Nandal), forced an all-out on the Bulls with under four minutes remaining.
Another three-point raid by the Siddharth levelled the scores but Sehrawat rose up to the challenge, matching him raid for raid in what turned out to be raiding masterclass by the sport’s very best.
With the scores level at 38-38, Pawan produced an acrobatic two-point raid in the penultimate raid of the match while Siddharth Desai was not allowed to venture forward in the last move as the Bulls sacrificed a player to clinch the match.
With the win, Bulls strengthened grip on second spot while Telugu Titans remained in the ninth spot.
UP Yoddha rout Patna Pirates
UP Yoddha piled on more misery on three-time champions Patna Pirates 41-29 in a Pro Kabaddi match at the SreeKanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday.
Shrikanth Jadhav (Super 10 with 10 points), Surender Gill (7 points) and Nitesh Kumar (5 tackle points) were all in form for the UP side, which produced an all-round performance to secure an important victory that has them knocking at the doors of a playoff berth.
Patna Pirates struggled to get a stranglehold of the match despite another Super 10 (14 raid points) from their raider Pardeep Narwal.
The lack of alternatives to Pardeep in the raiding department has been a major problem for Patna Pirates in this season and it was all too evident once again in the early minutes of their match against UP Yoddha.
A strong tackle in the second minute meant Pardeep had to go to the dugout and it was no surprise that Yoddha inflicted, rather comfortably, an all-out on the three-time champions in the seventh minute.
A seven-point lead by the seventh minute meant the UP team took a relaxed approach.
But Patna clawed their way back into the match through two super tackles by Monu and Hadi Oshtorak.
Vikas Jaglan and Pardeep’s two-point raids further reduced the deficit towards the half time.
The first half ended with UP Yoddha leading 16-14.
Patna clinched their first all-out of the match in the first minute after the restart and dominated the early minutes of the half to secure a lead.
But Patna’s error-prone defence faltered when it mattered and slowly allowed Yoddha’s to come back into the match.
Nitesh Kumar was brilliant in the Yoddha’s defence, picking up a high 5 in the seventh minute of the second half with an ankle hold on his nemesis Pardeep.
Surender Gill’s clever raids allowed the UP side to inflict another all-out with nine minutes remaining and move to a six-point lead.
Narwal clinched a Super 10 in the final minutes but Patna couldn’t manage a way back into the game as UP Yoddha picked up a big 12-point victory.
The action now moves to Kolkata where Bengal Warriors take on Gujarat Fortunegiants before leaguer leaders Dabang Delhi face resurgent Haryana Steelers on Saturday.
|RANK||TEAM||MATCHES PLAYED||WON||LOST||DRAW||Score Difference||POINTS|
|1||DABANG DELHI K.C||12||10||1||1||62||54|
|5||JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS||13||7||6||0||3||38|