Home team Bengaluru Bulls faced a doleful defeat in their first match of the Bangalore leg, from Manpreet Singh's Gujarat Fortune Giants. Tamil Thalaivas, not much far from the Bulls, also suffered a dull defeat from Bengal Warriors in their prior battle played in Delhi.
Read to find out how the fourth encounter of the #RivalryWeek unleashed itself at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore:
Arjuna Awardee Ajay started for the Thalaivas and returned without any point. Captain cool Rohit Kumar opened the account for the Bulls in brilliant fashion after picking up a superb two-pointer. Rahul Chaudhari, who grappled to find a chance to play in the past few battles plucked up a swift bonus for the green-yellow clad army.
A fast-paced battle since the very first second, the Thalaivas demanded a review for a mere bonus, which was deemed futile. The one-man army, Manjeet Chillar, produced a thigh-hold on Pawan and left him with no escape route.
The encounter was undoubtedly equally poised, as both squads avoided rookie errors and were able to retain their respective star performers in no time.
The Bulls took a review in Mohit's favor, which was shunned upon inspection. A smoldering two-pointer by Pawan sent Manjeet and Ajeet off the mat in the blink of an eye. After half time, the home team trailed ahead with the score 14-13.
As the second half commenced, Mohit Sehrawat inflicted an impressive super tackle on Iceman Ajay. Right after getting revived, Pawan hopped on the opponent's court only to earn a splendid two-pointer. Yet another two-pointer by Pawan helped him achieve his seventh super ten in style.
Sagar performed a successful super-tackle on Pawan, flinging him off the playing area. Another outstanding super-tackle on Rohit by Mohit Chillar sent him to the bench.
A third two-pointer by Pawan increased the lead to five points. Simultaneously, the Thalaivas shifted into a more profound crisis. Eventually, they suffered their first all-out of the night after dodging it priorly.
Chaudhari, who displayed a great game in the first half was strangely substituted by the coach. Point to note, his performance dropped massively in the other half.
Ultimately, Bengaluru Bulls successfully clinched the battle with sheer brilliance. However, the Thalaivas were once again on the losing end with the score 33-27. Pawan Sehrawat and Amit Sheoran's contributions helped the hot favorites emerge as winners.
Coach Randhir Sehrawat looked exhilarated after the battle and was impressed with his team's performance. When asked about Bengaluru's play against the Thalaivas, he replied:
I was very confident about winning tonight. Both Pawan and Rohit started in a brilliant manner. When my Karan and Arjun (Pawan and Rohit) do their job perfectly, I get my faith back. However, defense could have done a better job against Tamil.
When quizzed from Pawan about his strategy before stepping on the mat, he, very boldly indeed, answered:
Right after we returned back to our hotel post the match yesterday, coach gave me an earful. (Randhir playfully told him not to spill out everything in detail) He told me that I was not a raider worth just three mere points.
He was assuring me about my performance since the very morning. I give all the credit to my coach. I, all alone, did not take 17 points but my coach helped me to the fullest.
Upon being compared with players like Sehwag, Dhoni, and Kohli, Pawan had a fitting reply prepared for everyone.
They are doing their job as per the expectations and so am I. I am nobody but Pawan Sehrawat, who plays according to the plan and his team's requirements.Published 02 Sep 2019, 00:15 IST