Pro Kabaddi League 2017: U Mumba hold their nerve to notch up a win; Bengaluru Bulls start season with victory

Hyderabad: Former champions U Mumba overcame debutants Haryana Steelers 29-28 in a gripping encounter of the fifth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Sunday.

Kashiling Adake (seven points) and captain Anup Kumar (six) starred for the Mumbai outfit, who were staring at a second consecutive defeat following the opening-match reversal against Puneri Paltan on Friday.

Tacklers Surinder Singh (four) and Joginder Narwal (three) too chipped in with crucial contributions for Mumba.

For the Haryana side, Vikash Khandola (six) and Wazir Singh (six) were the key raiders, while in defence, Surender Nada (five) and Rakesh Kumar Singh (three) played a big role in giving them the four-point lead at half-time.

Mumba started strong, driven by raider Kashiling Adake’s power and energy, while the rival raiders struggled. Mumbai took a 7-4 lead but Haryana side fought back and equalised at 8-8.

Based on a strong defence, with Surender Nada and Mohit Chillar being the lynchpin at both corners, Haryana’s elevation was pure teamwork.

Raiders Wazir Singh, Vikash Khandola and Surjeet Singh did well in attack, while Surender and Rakesh Kumar Singh starred in the defence department. They eliminated raiders Shabeer Bapu and Kashiling to torment Mumba.

At the stroke of half-time, Anup Kumar too was touched out by Khandola as Haryana inflicted an all out on Mumbai to lead 15-11 at the end of first 20 minutes of play.

Haryana began the second half quite strongly and continued their domination till 30 minutes.

In the following event, a big moment of the match arrived when Kashiling gained three touch points to bring his side’s deficit to only one. It opened up the game in which until this moment, Haryana seemed to be too strong.

Couple of minutes later, Mumbai forced an all out for Haryana, grabbing a 22-20 lead. Later, Wazir and Khandola continued to rattled Mumba while Kashling too did the job for Mumba.

Haryana’s strong defence reduced the difference to one at the 29th minute but an unsuccessful raid, followed by experienced Anup’s time-buying raid sealed the match in favour of Mumba.

Meanwhile, in the second match of the day, captain Rohit Kumar inspired Bengaluru Bulls to a comprehensive 31-21 victory over Telugu Titans, who suffered their second consecutive loss in three matches.

Rohit, one of the costliest players of the league, bagged as many as 12 points out of his 18 raids which proved decisive. Ajay Kumar (seven points) was another key contributor for Bengaluru.

His counterpart, Rahul Chaudhari, who struggled throughout the match with only four points, became the first player to effect 500 touch points in the history of the PKL. Now his said tally stands at 502.

Captain Rohit sparkled early for Bengaluru, who threatened the home camp by racing to an 8-2 lead. He rattled Telugu Titans with two successive raids that fetched Bengaluru two points each and depleted the hosts.

Iranian Mohsen Maghsoudloujafari made a superb raid to make it 4-8 but in the turn, he was caught and Bengaluru forced an all out on Titans for a 12-5 advantage in the 13th minute.

With Rahul looking a bit tired, Nilesh Salunke stepped up and initiated a recovery operation.

Bengaluru relied more on Rohit and when he failed, the pressure took a toll on the rest of the team.

Telugu Titans improved their position and by the end of the first half of 20 minutes, they were trailing 10-14.

In the second half, Bengaluru continued their ascendancy. Their key feeder, Rohit continued to have a big say in the team’s fortunes. Their defence kept tackling

For the home camp, Rahul was better in the second half, but Bengaluru this time didn’t allow a free run for Salunke, hurting the Titans even more.

Bengaluru were cruising at 25-18 when Ajay earned three touch points in a superb raid to seal the match for his side, spelling doom for the capacity crowd.

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