Kolkata: U Mumba showed nerves of steel as they rallied their way to edge out Bengaluru Bulls 29-28 in an thrilling match of the Pro Kabaddi League here yesterday.
U Mumba with this third win in five matches has 15 points and is fourth in the table. Bengaluru, on the other hand, remained in sixth place after suffering their fourth loss in six games. In a match where they trailed for almost 38 minutes, U Mumba kept their cool and turned the tables on their inexperienced rivals in the exciting contest.
All credit goes to veteran Rakesh Kumar, the former Indian star, for guiding the under-strength U Mumba side, who were severely handicapped by the absence of Anup Kumar and the trio of Mohit Chhillar, Surender Nada and Vishal Mane, the core of their defence.
Iran's Fazel Atrachali, playing his first full match, provided the window of opportunity to U Mumba when he held Amit Rathi with a waist hold. The next raid by Surjeet, the lone man standing for the Bengaluru Bulls, culminated in the last minute all-out which clinched the match for the winners.
In hindsight, the strategy of Bengaluru Bulls coach Randhir Singh to utilize his skipper Surjeet Singh as a tool to run down the clock with empty raids backfired. Both will definitely rue the fact that those 20 empty raids hit them in the end.
U Mumba were down and out in the first half. The situation seemed grim as they were 4-10 after the first all out in the 9th minute and then 9-20 after the second in the 18th minute. At half time, Bengaluru had 21-10 advantage and it probably prompted the Bengaluru coach Randhir Singh to ask his trump card Surjeet to waste the time and conserve his energy.
However, after the disappointment of the first half, U Mumba came out determined but leaked points to be down at 20-27 when the final five minutes were called. The tide turned with Rakesh getting hold of raiders Pawan Kumar and Vinoth Kumar in successive raids. Yet at 27-22 the losers were well-placed.
Once panic set in, Rakesh Kumar sensed the opportunity and turned the tables in his team's favour in the end.