The seventh edition of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 2019) got off to an exciting start as defending champion Bengaluru Bulls claimed a tense 34-32 win over three-time champion Patna Pirates, while U Mumba secured a 31-26 win over home side Telugu Titans, here at the Gachibowli Stadium.
Bengaluru Bulls' all-round performance saw it record a comeback win against Patna Pirates. The Bulls began strongly and took an early lead, but Pirates' new signing, Iranian Mohammad Esmaeil Maghsoudlou, did extremely well to swing the tie in his side's favour. With a knack of trapping raiders and an adept skill of claiming crucial raid points, he led Pirates to a 17-13 lead at halftime. Last season's top scorer, Pawan Kumar Sehrawat, had a fairly sedate opening half.
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The second half saw an energised Bengaluru Bulls side that banked on its watertight defence. The trio of Amit Sheoran, Mahender Singh and Ashish Kumar did remarkably well to claim four Super Tackles in quick succession to bring the Bulls back into the game.
Bengaluru Bulls trailed by two points in the 31st minute and Pawan Kumar got two points to draw parity in the 33rd minute. That proved to be the decisive moment as Amit went on to inflict an All Out on Patna Pirates and give his side a crucial four-point lead at 30-26 with four minutes to go.
Pardeep did manage to claim a couple of late points and complete a Super 10, but it wasn't enough as captain Rohit Kumar led Bengaluru Bulls to a morale-boosting victory.
- U Mumba pips Telugu Titans -
The first match of the evening saw former teammates Siddharth Desai and Fazel Atrachali face off, and it was the U Mumba captain Fazel who had the last laugh. He made his intent clear early on with two huge tackles on Siddharth as U Mumba cruised to an 8-4 lead within 10 minutes.
Abhishek Singh, who shone with his first Super 10, got Titans All Out in the first half to give U Mumba a 12-6 lead. Siddharth struggled to make an impact and at the 30-minute mark, he had spent close to 15 minutes on the bench - a testament to how good the U Mumba defence was.
He went on to win his first point in the 33rd minute, but there was little he could do as season two champion U Mumba held on to record a comfortable win.
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