Pro Kabaddi: Bengaluru Bulls qualify for the semis with a dominating win over Telugu Titans
Bengaluru Bulls enthralled the home crowd with a 43-29 win over Telugu Titans in the final match of the Bengaluru leg. The home team sealed qualification to the playoffs with this win over the 2nd placed team in the points table. Manjeet Chhillar scored 9 points for his side while Dharmaraj Cheralathan supported him ably scoring 7 points.
The Bulls were dealt a blow before the match as youngster Ashish Chhokar was ruled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury. Rahul Chaudhari and Sukesh Hegde were omitted from the Titans’ squad for this match against the home team.
The Bengaluru Bulls started the match like a team possessed as they took just 3 minutes to reduce Telugu Titans down to just 3 players. 3 minutes later, the home team enforced an all out on the visitors after Ajay Thakur got all the 3 remaining defenders out in a single raid to give the scoreline a jump, from 5-2 to 10-2.
The Bulls did not relent after the restart either as the home team once again got Telugu Titans down to just 3 men. This time, however, the Titans were careful and avoided another all out through the efforts of Prashant Rai and a solid defensive effort as the Bulls led by 8 points (15-7) after the 15th minute.
The Bulls restored their 10-point lead before the end of the half, in which they completely dominated a depleted Titans’ playing squad. Coach Randhir Singh’s happiness was there for everyone to see after a stunning performance by the home team.
The home team seal qualification for the semis
Manjeet Chhillar and Rajesh Mondal returned successfully from their attacking forays as the Titans were down to 1 man – 18-year-old Sandeep Kandola. The teenager, who is primarily a defender, was caught by the home team defenders as the Titans suffered their second all out of the match in the 24th minute. The home team led by a massive 14 points (25-11) at this stage.
Both the teams exchanged points till the 30th minute as the Bulls led 29-15 in front of a vociferous home crowd at the packed Kanteerava Indoor Stadium. The visitors won 4 straight points as they reduced the Bulls to just 2 players. Substitute Rajesh Mondal was tackled in the subsequent raid, while Somvir Shekhar surrendered to Prashant Rai as the Titans completed an all out and made it a 6-point game (29-23) with 7 minutes to go in the match.
The home team, however, were totally dominant in the final stages of the match as they inflicted a third all out on the Titans in the 39th minute when Dharmaraj Cheralathan returned successfully from his raid. In the final minute, the Titans won a couple of points, but the Bulls held on to complete a 43-29 win.
Man of the match: Manjeet Chhillar