U Mumba move into semifinals

U Mumba move into semifinals

 U Mumba showed why they are tipped as the hot favourites to win the tournament as they began the Bengaluru leg with a thumping 36-29 victory over Bengaluru Bulls.

With this win, Mumbai became the first side to storm into the semifinals of the Pro Kabaddi League here at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Wednesday.

A strong backing from a vociferous crowd notwithstanding, the hosts were outdone by a better opponent and left them with plenty of problems to solve ahead of their next game. With the victory, Mumba climbed back to the top position with 50 points from 11 games. Thanks to the losing margin being seven, the Bulls went home with one point but moved up to the third spot with 32 points. 

After a cautious start, which saw empty raids from both the teams, it was the visitors who drew the first blood with their formidable defence proving to be too good for the Bulls. After sending back star raider Ajay Thakur in the third minute, Mumba accounted for skipper Chillar soon after. With a couple of successful tackles, the Mumbai unit surged ahead to a lead of 7-3.

Just when it looked like the Bulls would be outplayed in the first half, the trio of Parmod Narwal, Somvir Shekhar and Dharmaraj Cheralathan produced a ‘super tackle’ to remove the dangerous Rishank Devadiga and fetched two points to make it 5-7. The Bulls’ fightback was further fuelled by a fine raid by the experienced Cheralathan and a successful tackle in the very next raid from Mumbai made the scores level at 7-7. Not allowing the sudden outburst from Bulls to deter them, the Mumbai defence stood up to the challenge and displayed a brilliant performance. At 12-8, the Anup Kumar-side inflicted the first all out of the match and raced to 15-8.

Leading the Mumbai’s powerful defence was vice-captain Jeeva Kumar, who bagged six points for his side. The in-form Mohit Chillar (5) and Surendra Nada (5) gave great support to Kumar and at half-time Mumbai were sitting pretty at 18-11.

In the second half, maintaining their lead and killing time, Mumbai inflicted their second all out at 22-30 to increase their lead to 34-22.

The poor form of Thakur (3) and Rajesh Mondal (0) hurt the hosts badly. Cheralathan’s all-round show (6) was the only saving grace for the Bulls.

Though skipper Chillar (8) made a couple of successful raids and managed a successful tackle in the second half, the effort proved to be too little against a powerful Mumbai team. The visitors then clinched the match 36-29.

Chhokar injured

After their lacklustre show, Bulls suffered another blow when their young raider Ashish Chhokar suffered a dislocated shoulder.

During the first half of the play, Ashish was tackled strongly by multiple U Mumba players and was brought down hard which resulted in the injury. Ashish was immediately helped off the court and rushed to hospital.  The Bengaluru franchise owner Uday Singh Wala said that the Haryana lad might need a surgery. 

Earlier, U Mumba’s Bhupendra Singh a was stretchered off after being struck on the temple while tackling a Bulls’ player. Singh, however, came back to resume play.    

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