Patna thwarts Sheykh's efforts to edge out Delhi

Despite a lack of support from others, Meraj Sheykh almost single-handedly kept his team from being all out till the 29th minute.

It was ironical that Delhi's best defence came from two of its frontline raiders.   -  Ranjeet Kumar

Captain Meraj Sheykh's phenomenal efforts went in vain as host Dabang Delhi lost by a single point to table topper Patna Pirates at the Thyagraj Sports Complex here on Monday. The result confirmed Patna's spot in the semifinals while Delhi's hopes suffered a big blow after the 31-32 loss.

Tied on 31-31 till the final few seconds, Kashiling Adake's final raid saw him go for a desperate bonus point but was tackled successfully to end Delhi's hopes. Till then, however, it had been anybody's game as the momentum kept shifting. And Sheykh was the man responsible for keeping Delhi in the game all through.

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The stocky Iranian won points in both raids and tackling. Despite a lack of support from others, Sheykh almost single-handedly kept his team from being all out till the 29th minute. Often reduced to just two members, and at times all alone, Sheykh earned raid points every time his team was in danger of being all out.

Adake was equally inspirational, equalling Sheykh for points earned through bonuses, touch points and tackling. It was ironical that Delhi's best defence came from two of its frontline raiders. Unfortunately, the rest of the team was unable to step up to their level.

Patna must have been a frustrated team for a major part of the game. Pradeep Narwal and Rajesh Mondal kept sending out Delhi's players only to see Sheykh and Adake revive them repeatedly. Despite its numerical superiority, Patna was unable to make it count until the final few seconds when Delhi's desperation for a win overwhelmed its instinct for a draw only to lose out.

In the women's match later in the day, Fire Birds relied on substitutes Gayatri and Rinju K to beat Ice Divas 22-13 in the qualifier and book a spot in the final against Storm Queens.

The results: Patna Pirates 32 (Pardeep Narwal 9, Rajesh Mondal 7) bt Dabang Delhi 31 (Meraj Sheykh 11, Kashiling Adakae 11); Fire Birds 22 (Gayatri 4, Rinju K 4, Payel Chowdhury 3) bt Ice Divas 13 (Sumitra Sharma 3, Sonali Shingate 3, Khushbu Narwal 3).

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