Hyderabad: Jaipur Pink Panthers brought the U Mumba's good run to a halt with a 35-25 win in the Pro Kabaddi season two in Hyderabad on Friday.
With this victory, Panthers have revived their hopes of making it to the play-offs. The difference between these sides was the strong defence led by the Panthers duo of young Kuldeep Singh and Prashant Chavan. In the process, the Panthers avenged their defeat in the season opener which they lost by a single point.
While Kuldeep had 6 points and Prashant 5, both effected a super tackle leaving U Mumba worried. Ran Singh too came up with a super tackle, the third of the first half which placed the winners in a comfortable position at 15-11 at half-time.
The five points from the win take the Panthers point tally to 21. This places them above Patna Pirates (20) in fourth place. U Mumba now awaits their fate with the Titans playing Puneri Paltan in the next tie.
A win will take the Titans to 44 points in 11 matches. U Mumba has played two matches less. U Mumba, known for their second half recovery, never got going in the second half as captain Anup Kumar failed to turn the tide with his 2 points in 14 raids telling the story.
His counterpart Jasvir too was not his usual self but Sonu Narwal with six points shored them up. Rajesh Narwal, celebrating his birthday, contributed five points to the win that came as a result of a supreme team effort. For U Mumba, the absence of Jeeva Kumar and Shabeer Bapu hit them. Bhupender and Pawan Kumar could not fill their void.
Prabhanjan Kumar who made a brief appearance did his bit with a couple of points but that was inadequate. The defeat has given Mumba a wake-up call and they will be back with renewed vigour with the resources they have at hand. Captain Anup Kumar made no bones about U Mumba's performance.
"Our offence was extremely weak today while our defence made their presence felt as always. We did miss Shabeer immensely. We are going to learn a lot from this loss. I think also we are getting a bit too comfortable and this loss will get us back on track.
I take personal responsibility for this loss. I felt that I wasn't at my best and hence will feed the need to take the responsibility of the loss on myself," said Kumar. Panthers captain Jasvir Singh was in good spirits after the win.
"We needed to win this match ¿ this win was good for the ego. We are also more confident now. We still believe in our chances for the play-offs and we were brilliant. More of these performances like tonight are required. This will give us the momentum leading up to the business end of the tournament," he said.