PKL: U Mumba down Dabang Delhi in thriller

Shrikant Jadhav did the star turn for U Mumba, bringing the former champion back into the game despite trailing for a large part and then scoring a crucial two-pointer in the final minute to turn the tables and ensure a 30-28 win against host Dabang Delhi.

There was little to separate the teams post break and the scoreline reflected the close fight.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Shrikant Jadhav did the star turn for U Mumba, bringing the former champion back into the game despite trailing for a large part and then scoring a crucial two-pointer in the final minute to turn the tables and ensure a 30-28 win against host Dabang Delhi in the first match of this leg at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex on Friday.

Jadhav, who top-scored in the game with 11 points, was the key man for Mumba which has been struggling to find its rhythm this season. The result, however, did little to change the positions of the two Zone A teams on the table – Mumba remains fourth and out of qualifying zone for the next round at the moment while Delhi continues to languish at the bottom of the table.

With just four wins in its 13 games so far, Delhi's fortunes have been similar to its previous seasons. The home leg would be crucial for its survival in the competition and the team started well, racing to a 12-3 lead early on in the first ten minutes. Led by Iranian Abolfazl Maghsodlou, Delhi played an attacking game even as Mumba's defence continued to struggle.

But with an excess of brilliant raiders in its ranks, Mumba clawed back slowly into the game, led by the Maharashtrian duo of Jadhav and former Delhi star Kashiling Adake, who was the second highest scorer with seven points. The teams were tied 16-all at half time as Mumba overcame the nine point deficit.

Delhi's defence suffered due to the continued absence of the experienced Nileshh Shinde, who had been rested for the last two games and was expected to take to the mat but did not. The inconsistency of its captain Meraj Sheykh has also affected the team even as Mumba captain Anup Kumar has smartly left the raiding duties to his younger teammates and concentrated on maintaining the team's structure and shoring up the defence.

There was little to separate the teams post break and the scoreline reflected the close fight. Mumba finally went ahead for the first time in the game in the 23rd minute but the margin never grew beyond two points.

Delhi was in the game till the 38th minute, maintaining its narrow one point lead at 28-27 before Jadhav's crucial raid earned him and Mumba two points to edge ahead to 28-29. An unsuccessful raid by Anand Patil in the final few seconds wrapped up the victory for Mumba.

The result: U Mumba 30 (Shrikant Jadhav 11, Kashiling Adake 7) bt Dabang Delhi 28 (Abolfazl Maghsodlou 6, Rohit Baliyan 4, Meraj Sheykh 4, Sunil 4).

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