Bengal Warriors registered a narrow 37-35 victory over U Mumba in a tightly-fought contest to clinch a place in Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season seven finals. The victory on Wednesday, in front of a packed audience at the EKA Arena by TransStadia here, set up a grand finale date against Dabang Delhi.
This is the first time both teams have reached the finals of the league.
Lead raider for Bengal, Maninder Singh, was unfortunately not part of the match-day squad as he failed to recover from a shoulder injury sustained in a league match against Delhi, who secured a spot in the final earlier in the day.
But Bengal matched the in-form U Mumba side in the early exchanges, with Sukesh Hegde looking composed in his raids. Rinku Narwal in the left corner was also having a good day for Bengal who were helped by some uncharacteristic errors in the Mumbai defence. A two-point raid by Hegde for Bengal in the 12th minute, pushing away U Mumba skipper and ace defender Fazel Atrachali in his way back to the halfway line set the tone for his team who inflicted an All-Out with 5 minutes remaining to open a 4-point lead.
The All-Out gave the Bengal time the confidence they needed and they improved the lead to 6 (18-12) at the end of the half.
Bengal made the mistake of slowing the pace of the match in the early minutes of the second-half that allowed U Mumba to reduce the points gap a little but Hegde produced a stellar 4-point Super Raid in the 8th minute to deflate U Mumba’s confidence.
Bengal pressed home the advantage to clinch another All-Out in the 10th minute of the half to open up a 10 point gap.
Despite U Mumba’s best efforts, they could not bring down Bengal’s lead as the match moved to the final minutes with Bengal well in control. But Ajinkya Kapre had other plans as he produced a 4-point Super Raid with five minutes remaining to change the momentum.
U Mumba went on to clinch an All-Out with three minutes remaining to make it a one-point game. Sandeep Narwal’s block with under two minutes remaining made it 35-35. Arjun Deshwal failed in a bonus point attempt in his team’s penultimate raid and Bengal floored the raider in the final move of the game to clinch the match.
Bengal will now face Delhi in the summit clash on Saturday at the same venue.
PKL 8: Patna Pirates beat Puneri Paltan 38-26
Raider Sachin scored 10 points as three-time champions Patna Pirates defeated Puneri Paltan 38-26 in Match 17 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, on Tuesday. Sachin scored a Super 10 (10 points) and was ably supported by Patna’s defensive trio of Sunil (4 points), Mohammadreza Chiyaneh (3 points), and Sajin C (3 points). The lack of a quality raider despite promising performances from youngsters will be a cause of concern for the Puneri Paltan who succumbed to their second loss in three matches.
All eyes were once again on Pune’s Rahul Chaudhari but the showman, despite starting the match, was substituted for young Mohit Goyat by coach Anup Kumar in the first half. The trio of raiders including Aslam Inamdar and Pankaj Mohite caused problems for the Patna defence while at the other end Prashant Kumar Rai and Sachin were equally effective.
Patna were facing the risk of an all-out with six minutes left to half-time, but their defender Sajin C completed a Super Tackle to turn the momentum. The three-time champions got lucky later when Monu Goyat entered the lobby without contact, in a do-or-die raid only to be followed by three Pune defenders who had been deceived by his actions. The first half ended 14-14 with Pune having just two men on the mat.
Pune coach Anup Kumar clearly expected from his set of raiders and brought in Shubham Shelke for Pankaj Mohite in the second half. But Patna kept fighting back, thanks to the largely confident tackles from the likes of Mohammadreza Chiyaneh and Sajin. With 10 minutes remaining, Patna had a four-point lead and that was extended a’ Pune’s plan to play on the Do-or-Die raid backfired. Sachin scored two points in the crucial raid for Patna to inspire another ALL OUT in the 13th minute and open a 10-point lead.
Patna maintained the momentum and though Sunil and Vishal Bharadwaj picked up yellow cards in the final minutes as the match became intense the three-time champions ensured there was no late comeback by Pune and clinched an important win.
PKL 8: Bengal Warriors beat Gujarat Giants
Bengal Warriors defeated Gujarat Giants 31-28 on Day 3 of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 held at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Friday. This was Bengal Warriors’ second win in as many matches while Gujarat Gaints have one win and one loss. The Warriors have 10 points the same as Dabang Delhi but are placed second on a lower points-difference while Gujarat have six points.
Bengal Warriors started well and established a slender lead (16-11) against Gujarat Giants at half-time. They maintained their advantage despite the valiant efforts of the Gujarat Giants, managed to register a narrow victory.
Maninder Singh was the top scorer for Bengal Warriors with eight points while Esmaeil Nabibakhsh contributed four points.
Bengal Warriors won 18 raid points as against 19 by Gujarat Giants. But it was in defence that they scored, claiming 10 points as against eight by their rivals. They bagged two all-outs as against none by the Giants.
Rakesh Narwal was the top scorer for Gujarat Giants with 12 points while Rakesh Sungroya contributed four points.
Rishabh Pant appointed as Uttarakhand’s brand ambassador
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday announced that Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has been appointed as the brand ambassador of the state.
Taking to Twitter, the Chief Minister said that Pant will encourage the youngsters to take up sports.
“One of the best cricket players of India, the idol of youth and son of Uttarakhand, Rishabh Pant has been appointed as “State Brand Ambassador” by our government with the aim of encouraging the youth of the state towards sports and public health,” tweeted Dhami in Hindi, along with the video.
In the video, CM Dhami can be seen interacting with Rishabh and asking about his well-being.
The attacking batter also thanked the Chief Minister for the opportunity, saying that he will try his best to motivate people towards fitness.
“Thank you @pushkardhami sir for giving me the opportunity to be the Brand Ambassador of promoting Sports and General Health among the people of Uttarakhand. I’ll do my best to spread this message and feeling happy that you are taking these steps towards a fitter India,” tweeted Pant.
“Coming from a small town of Roorkee, I am confident that the people here have the ability to make the country proud in various fields of life,” he added.
The 24-year Pant, who was rested for the New Zealand Tests, is currently in Johannesburg, South Africa as the Indian Team is all set to face Proteas in the three-match Test series, starting December 26.
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