PKL: Warriors beats Bulls to book semis spot

Thanks to a sterling effort by its captain and star defender Nilesh Shinde and raiders Jang Kun Lee and Mahesh Goud, the Kolkata franchise outdid its Bangalore counterpart 26-22.

Bengaluru Bulls (red) led led 13-11 at the end of first half. (File photo)   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Bengal Warriors surmounted a brave effort by Bengaluru Bulls to register a thrilling four-point victory and sealed a place in the ProKabaddi League knockouts for the first time.

Thanks to a sterling effort by its captain and star defender Nilesh Shinde and raiders Jang Kun Lee and Mahesh Goud, the Kolkata franchise outdid its Bangalore counterpart 26-22 at the National Sports Club of India’s indoor stadium here on Tuesday night. One couldn’t help but feel for Bengaluru’s Deepak Dahiya who ran out of support, especially in the closing minutes of the game.

> Matchcentre

When the Warriors led 13-11 at the break, it seemed as if it was sailing into the semifinals. However, the Bulls staged a stupendous charge, racing to a 16-13 lead after the first five minutes in the latter half. However, Shinde’s tackles first brought the Bulls back into the game before Lee put the team ahead with a bonus-point raid.

That raid shifted the momentum in Warriors’ favour and Shinde continued to gulp the Bulls’ raiders. The 35-year-old was all over the Bulls’ raiders – at times surging towards them side on or fooling them with a leg lift from deep from the court – to leave the crowd from his hometown spellbound.

Lee and Goud didn’t let their captain down, upping their ante in the last five minutes, when it mattered most. Goud’s successful raid in the penultimate fate sealed the fate of the match as it gave Warriors an unassailable four-point lead.

U Mumba thrash Titans

U Mumba extended its unbeaten streak to nine games, making short work of Telugu Titans. The 16-point victory also completed the semifinal line-up, with U Mumba, Patna Pirates, Bengal Warriors and Puneri Paltan making the cut.

The Visakhapatnam franchise had to win with a bonus point to remain in contention for qualifying for the semifinals. But it wilted under the U Mumba onslaught and the home team eventually ended up earning the bonus. The Titans was all out thrice during the course of the match.