Chaudhari leads Titans to crucial victory

With 13 points, Chaudhari was the best raider in action and his ability to wriggle out of tough situations played a big role in his team's victory over U Mumba.

Telugu Titans' captain Rahul Chaudhari being tackled by U Mumba players in Lucknow on Saturday.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

After five straight losses, Rahul Chaudhari and Telugu Titans desperately needed a victory to not just keep the team morale high but to keep their campaign in the competition on track. And the captain led from the front, reaffirming his status as the team's marquee player as Titans won 37-32 against a fighting U Mumba in the Pro Kabaddi League here on Saturday

MATCH STATS: Telugu Titans v U Mumba; Haryana Steelers v UP Yoddha

With 13 points, Chaudhari was the best raider in action and his ability to wriggle out of tough situations played a big role in his team's victory. Equally responsible for the win was Sombir as the defender, along with Vishal Bhardwaj, managed a series of super tackles despite being outnumbered in the last 10 minutes, to keep his team ahead at all times. Both sides had 18 raid points but Titans' 14 tackle points proved the winning factor against Mumba's nine.

For U Mumba, it has not been a happy season. At 34 and 31, its best players have continued to be veterans Anup Kumar and Shabeer Bappu but the lack of support from the younger lot has affected the team, currently 3rd in its group with 16 points but a massive 20 behind the leader. Against Titans too, the bulk of scoring was done by the duo. Anup also contributed with a couple of tackle points but the rest were not as alert to the opportunities.

With the first Mumba all-out coming in less than 10 minutes, and Chaudhari making his intentions clear with a three-pointer in his second raid itself, Titans looked in firm control early on before Mumba fought back. At 29-28 with four minutes remaining, it was anybody's game but Chaudhari, despite being held by two defenders and surrounded by more, still managed to sneak a hand through the gap to touch the mid-line.

That moment changed the equation and gave Titans a numerical advantage it made full use of, effecting Mumba's second all-out for a comfortable lead and a crucial win.

The day's other game saw host UP Yoddha suffer its second straight loss, going down 29-36 to Haryana Steelers despite leading for most part of the game. UP had things in control till the final three minutes before Haryana turned the tables. From 29-all in the 38th minute, Vikas Kandola took off three points on two consecutive raids in the final minute of the game that left UP with just a single player and was all-out to hand over a seven-point win to Haryana.

The results: Telugu Titans 37 (Rahul Chaudhari 13, Sombir 8) bt U Mumba 32 (Anup Kumar 9, Shabeer Bappu 6, Surinder Singh 4); Haryana Steelers 36 (Vikas Kandola 9, Surender Nada 7, Wazir Singh 4) bt UP Yoddha 29 (Rishank Devadiga 6, Sagar Krishna 6, Nitin Tomar 5, Mahesh Goud 4).

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