Bengal Warriors handed Dabang Delhi its first loss since August 1 as the team rode on Maninder Singh's brilliance to bag a 42-33 victory in the Pro Kabaddi League encounter at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula on Monday.
Bengal Warriors is now second with 78 points, four points behind leader Delhi.
Bengal and Delhi traded early blows, but the first decisive blow arrived when Rinku Narwal tackled Meraj Sheykh and propelled Bengal to a 10-5 lead. In the very next raid, Rinku pinned down Chandran Ranjit with an ankle hold to help his side effect the first 'All-out' on Delhi.
Unlike the previous matches, where Joginder Narwal and Ravinder Pahal anchored the defence, Delhi had 14 unsuccessful tackles in the first half. Maninder was at his free-scoring best and steered Bengal to a 25-14 at the end of the first period.
Soon after resumption, Maninder registered his 10th 'Super-10' of the season as Warriors' raced to a 36-20 lead after claiming a second 'All-out'. However, it resulted in an injury as the mighty Maninder was forced to the bench after he landed awkwardly on his left shoulder. Dabang continued to struggle defensively and soon succumbed to a third 'All-out'.
Delhi's Naveen upped the ante late into the game and brought his side within touching distance of Bengal. He went on to register his 18th consecutive 'Super10' and received able support from a resurgent defence as Bengal found itself in a spot of bother after slipping to a late 'All-out.'
However, a determined Bengal side tiled the momentum in its favour by denying Naveen points on four consecutive raids and the youngster's heroics ended in vain despite bagging 15 raid points.
- U Mumba's raiders save the day -
U Mumba's raiders earned their side a hard-fought win by scoring 86 percent of the team's total points to claim a 36-32 win over Tamil Thalaivas in the second match of the day.
Thalaivas started positively with both the departments contributing equally to the cause. V. Ajith Kumar replicated his good form on the mat once again and kept the scoreboard ticking, while defenders M. Abishek and Ponparthiban Subramanian combined to well to keep U Mumba's raiders in check.
On the other hand, and with Abhishek Singh leading the charge, U Mumba's raiding department overshadowed its shoddy defence. Athul MS played his role as the secondary raider to perfection to help U Mumba to a slender 15-11 lead at the end of the first half.
U Mumba rode on the momentum to inflict the first 'All-out' on Thalaivas and Abhishek soon brought up his fourth consecutive 'Super-10'. Ajith also reached a 'Super-10' and pocketed an impressive 16 points, but it wasn't enough as Thalaivas slipped to another loss.
With the victory, U Mumba climbed to the fourth place on the PKL table. The result also meant three-time champion Patna Pirates and two-time runner-up Gujarat Fortunegiants became the third and fourth teams to crash out of the PKL 2019 playoffs race.
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