PKL 2018: Rajput's seven-point raid lights up Mumbai leg

PKL 2018: Gujarat FortuneGiants' Mahendra Rajput's seven-point raid stands out in a competition where tackles have decided matches.

Gujarat FortuneGiant's Mahendra Rajput in action against U Mumba in the Pro Kabaddi League.   -  PKL

Coming on as a substitute for Gujarat FortuneGiants, Mahendra Rajput scalped seven points in a single raid and pulled off the most valuable raid in the ProKabaddi League's Mumbai leg.

He sent out five U Mumba players (Iranian ace Fazel Atrachali, Rohit Rana, Vinod Kumar, Siddharth Desai and Darshan Kadian) in one stunning move, inflicted an All-Out and earned his side seven valuable points, which eventually led to a two-point win.

The raider explained: “Sitting out (on the bench) is difficult, but at the same time we observe opponents and become familiar with their game. Going on the raid, I tried to execute the moves we do in training.

"It's my first time getting five players out in one raid. A couple of U Mumba players met me at the prize distribution ceremony and appreciated the effort,” he said. 

Rajput's mammoth raid remains the talking point as kabaddi takes a break after three hectic days at the NSCI stadium. Gujarat won the Zone A tie 38-36 in its only appearance in Mumbai and travels to Ahmedabad to host the home leg.

Raid points have become difficult to score in the sixth season of PKL, with defenders becoming bolder and sharper in taking calculated risks to trap attackers. Most raiders, regardless of their reputation or large signing fee, have found it tough to get past opposition defenders.

Rajput’s feat stands out in a competition where tackles have decided matches. “U Mumba is a top team and its defence is good. We try to replicate in matches what is taught in training,” said the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) employee from Dhulia district, Maharashtra.

U Mumba captain Atrachali, whose surge from the left corner and a two-handed thigh hold triggered a reflex response from the Rajput, said: "We made only one big mistake and it cost us (the match). I take responsibility, my tackle led to it. I was a great game and these things happen."

Rajput played for Bengal Warriors in first four seasons and made the switch to Gujarat last year. He is among four players retained by coach Manpreet Singh, whose surprise weapon is now the talk of the town.

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