Naveen ‘Express’ Kumar and Iranian import Meraj Sheyk’s exceptional raiding helped table topper Dabang Delhi bounce back from its loss against Haryana Steelers to record an emphatic 50-34 win over Tamil Thalaivas in the Pro Kabaddi League at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
The alert Naveen and the athletic Meraj stole 17 and 12 points, respectively as Dabang posted its 11th win to bolster its position atop the table.
Dabang gained the upper hand to have Thalaivas 'all-out' within the first eight minutes of the encoutner. It tightened the grip further when Thalaivas was 'all-out' for the second time with two minutes to go forhalf-time. Delhi went into the break with a 24-12 lead.
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The change of sides did not help the southern outfit, which experienced its third 'all-out' within three minutes of resumption.
Naveen and Meraj maneuvered their way to help the team establish a 20-point lead with nine minutes left. While the fleet-footed Naveen conducted raids effortlessly, Meraj showed his acrobatic skills to fetch spectacular points through his kicks and touches. The Iranian impressed by slipping out of the opponents’ tackles and scoring valuable points, including a three-pointer when he ousted Ajeet, Yashwant Bishnoi and Sagar in one go.
Vijay’s superb tackling also strengthened Delhi.
Thalaivas continued to suffer and found the going tough as its chief raider Rahul Chaudhuri and V.Ajith Kumar did not find enough support.
Nabibakhsh inspires Bengal to a thrilling victory over Pune
In a last-minute turnaround, host Bengal Warriors beat Puneri Paltan 42-39 in a thrilling contest to secure its seventh victory.
It was a topsy-turvy contest where the momentum kept exchanging hands. Bengal started slow and saw itself trail by four points. However, a 'super-tackle' by Jeeva Kumar and Rinku Narwal on Majeet followed by a 'super-raid' by Maninder saw the home side go into the lead and effect the first 'all-out' of the match on Puneri Paltan.
A stern Paltan, however, refused to let go and with superb raiding and defending from Pankaj Mohit and Girish Ernak, respectively, the visitors returned the favour with its first 'all-out'.
The second half saw Pune bundle out Bengal again and was well on course to winning the match. But, the Iranian Mohammad Nabibakhsh executed a moment of brilliance in the final 90 seconds of the game. Balasaheb Jadhav and Shubham Shinde went in to tackle Nabibakhsh and seemed to have contained the raider. Manjeet joined in, but none of the the players were able to contain the dangling hand out. That meant that the 'super-raid' helped Bengal effect another 'all-out' on Pune and Maninder finished it off with a 'super 10' to see his team over the lie.