Dabang Delhi waltzed into its first Pro Kabaddi League final by brushing aside Bengaluru Bulls 44-38 with ease in the first semifinal of season seven at the EKA Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad.
Naveen Kumar’s stellar footwork and grace in the raiding department helped him bag 15 points en route to his 20th back-to-back 'Super-10'. Chandran Ranjit, with nine points, provided able support to the in-form raider.
The defending champion was playing catch-up from the onset, despite maverick raider and captain Pawan Sehrawat scoring 18 points from 20 raids — including seven bonus points. However, the pattern of the match followed suit as he lacked support from the defence in a crunch game.
“I tried my best, but one player cannot win a match,” said last season’s sensation whose impact in a losing cause earned him respect from rival coach, Kishan Hooda. “Pawan and Naveen are the future Indian stars.”
Delhi went about the task efficiently, with the raiders asserting themselves to force two 'All-outs' in the first half followed by a third in the second. The Bulls defence was no match to Naveen, Chandran and Anil who earned points at will. Naveen set the tone with two points in the opening raid and went on to notch his 20th consecutive 'Super-10.' Chandran lent his might, wiping out the Bulls side at 9-3 and 21-10.
Bengal pips U Mumba to make finals
Bengal Warriors pulled off a thrilling 37-35 victory over U Mumba in the second semifinal, joining Delhi as first-time finalists.
Raiders on both sides excelled as the tie edged towards a tie before Sukesh Hedge repaid the faith of the Warriors team with his experience to deliver under pressure.
The one-time captain of local side Gujarat Fortunegiants revelled under pressure in familiar surrounding to top-score with eight points, including a 'Super-Raid', when he sent four Mumba players to the bench. Ajinkya Kapre replied with a four-point 'Super-Raid' for Mumba, whose quest for a third appearance in the PKL final did not come through.
Bengal Warriors will face Dabang Delhi in the summit clash on Saturday.
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