Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Five talking points from Day 19 of PKL 5
U Mumba spoil the Yoddhas home debut and Manjeet Chhillar enjoys a good birthday.
U Mumba, a dominant side from the first three seasons of Pro Kabaddi, have had a slow start thus far. But as that old adage goes, never write off the heart of a champion. The title winners from Season 2 showed all of that heart to register a superb come-from-behind win over the UP Yoddha in the very first match of the Lucknow leg. The big names all shone brightly in this encounter as U Mumba picked up a 37-34 victory.
The Jaipur Pink Panthers grounded Rohit Kumar and the Bengaluru Bulls in the second encounter to win 30-28 in a wildly fluctuating encounter that went down to the wire. For the Panthers, it was just their second win of the season while it was a hattrick of losses for the Bulls.
#1 Mumba and Shabeer bounce back
The first encounter of the night featured plenty of U Mumba faces. Shabeer Bapu, one of the stars of Season 2, was back with the side after playing for the Jaipur Pink Panthers. Two of their key men though had moved on and they were across the court on the night as Rishank Devadiga and Jeeva Kumar welcomed Anup Kumar and his U Mumba side to Lucknow.
Mumba looked slow early on and unsure of themselves as the Yoddha battered them, quickly establishing a 12-4 lead with just nine minutes of the match completed. It looked like it was going to be another long night for the veteran team. The same could be said for Shabeer, who had failed to fire previously in the campaign.
Playing with a red left eye after suffering a concussion in his last match, Shabeer though led the charge for Mumba as they came roaring back into the encounter. Shabeer was superb as he kept racking up the points on raid after raid and with his captain Anup also doing well, Mumba's raiding department suddenly looked lethal, providing problems for the Yoddha's defence. The lead had stretched to 15-7 with just five minutes remaining in the first half, but Mumba finished the half strongly behind Shabeer and Anup to reduce the deficit to just three points at 15-12.
Mumba completed the comeback in the second half as they went on to effect two All Outs on the Yoddha and their defence with their tails up also came into their own to inflict damage on the home side.
Shabeer produced one of the most magical raids of Pro Kabaddi in the final of season 2 and he produced another brilliant piece of work in this one. With two minutes gone by in the second half and his side trailing by one, Shabeer pulled off an absolute miracle.
With the UP defence clamping down on him, Shabeer got absolutely clobbered, yet managed to get his left arm out at full stretch, touched the midline, but couldn't cross it, gave it another go with his last bit of energy and got probably a fingernail over the line. Talk about a question of millimetres! That gave Mumba a lead by one and gave them solid momentum that fueled the comeback.
Shabeer finished with 12 raid points overall and even had a tackle point along the way on a sensational night for him and U Mumba.