PVL: Black Hawks Hyderabad pips U Mumba in thriller

Black Hawks Hyderabad bounced back from one set down to beat U Mumba Volley 3-2 in a thrilling Pro Volleyball League clash.

Dipesh Kumar Sinha attempts a smash during U Mumba's match against Black Hawks Hyderabad.   -  H. VIBHU

A fantastic performance from American Carson Clark and Canadian Alexander Bader under pressure in the decider pulled Black Hawks Hyderabad to an exciting 3-2 victory over U Mumba Volley in the RuPay Pro Volleyball League at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here on Tuesday night.

The victory saw the Black Hawks finish its league engagements with two wins from five matches and keep alive its hope of making the semifinals.

But that looked very unlikely when Mumba led 6-3 in the final set. At this stage, the Hawks brought in Alexander from the bench and moments later, he came up with a nice crosscourt smash and followed it up with some smart play. Carson dominated the stage after that, winning three straight points.

The lefthander’s strong serves upset Mumba’s backcourt rhythm and as they unsurely sent weak returns, Carson came up with some hard smashes from the back row. That brought the Hawks back into the lead at 7-6 and though Mumba levelled at 11 after a super point smash by Pankaj Sharma and another spike from captain Dipish Kumar, the Hawks moved ahead to 13-11 with a Rohit Kumar attack and a little later won the match.

“I wasn’t attacking that well tonight and I was a little bit frustrated about that. But I focused on my defence. My defence was really good tonight. After that, I decided to be more aggressive with my serves and they worked out well for us,” said the 30-year-old Carson, the Hawks’ captain.

The Southern teams currently occupy the top four spots in the six-team league and Mumba, which is without a win, appeared desperate to change that. Mumba, which played most of the match with just one foreigner (Tomislav Coskovic), came close to changing that situation with some fine work from Pankaj Sharma, Vinit Kumar and captain Dipish Kumar with setter Saqlain Tariq doing a good job.

Shubham Chaudhary, one of the Mumba players to impress earlier, looked good in the early stages. But when the Hawks set up a three-man block for him, Shubham’s confidence began to wane. But Vinit rose to the occasion and sparkled for a good part of the match.

For the Hawks, Rohit Kumar, Ashwal Rai led the scoring charts while setter Muthusamy served them well while Pankaj Sharma and Vinit topped the Mumba table.

The results: Black Hawks Hyderabad bt U Mumba Volley 13-15, 15-11, 7-15; 15-14,  15-11.

Wednesday’s match: Calicut Heroes vs Ahmedabad Defenders, 7pm.