Pro Kabaddi League 2018, U Mumba vs Gujarat Fortune Giants: Match Report
In what was a definite contender for match of the season, the team from Gujarat stuck to their guns and kept themselves in the game before taking advantage at just the right moment to clinch the win.
The match started with both teams looking for points aggressively, both while raiding and in defense.
Siddharth Desai got three quick raid points for Mumba before their defense came to the fore, executing a super tackle through Vinod Kumar and a couple of smart raids thanks to Rohit Baliyan to take a 11-7 lead at the 10-minute mark.
The Fortune Giants though, came roaring back into the encounter, thanks to Sachin's smart raiding as he went for touch points rather than take major risks. He was complimented well by Prapanjan and Dong Geon Lee, who both scored important raid points.
The away team's defense, led by captain Sunil Kumar stepped up during the latter stages of the first half, as they dismissed Mumbai's lead raider, Desai, twice to help their team's cause. At the breather, Gujarat led Mumbai 18-14.
The second half saw U Mumba establish their dominance quickly as they used a combination of defense and strong raiding to take the lead as they played Gujarat off the mat.
Siddharth continued his strong showing and chipped in with two strong raids but it was the home side's defense that stepped up to the plate, converting a four-point deficit into a four-point lead.
The turning point of the match came when Mahendra Rajput went in for a raid at the four-minute mark.
After initially getting caught by Fazel Atrachali, he battled his way back to his half, getting a touch on all five U Mumba defenders. He scored seven points in that raid, affecting an all out, helping his team come back from 30-26 down to take a 33-30 lead.
Both teams then traded raids as Gujarat looked to defend with only one man, to ensure they do not lose many points at one go and keep the lead.
Their strategy worked to perfection as they eventually pulled out a 38-36 win, thanks to the last raid by Ajay Kumar, as he fought his way to safety to guarantee the win for his team.
The best performances of the night in the raiding department were by Siddharth Desai of U Mumbai, who scored 13 points while Sachin Tawar scored nine points for the Fortune Giants.
Despite Rohit Baliyan chipping in with seven points, it was Mahendra Rajput's five-point raid that stole the show and helped his team go from a losing position to the driver's seat.
The partisan home crowd made matters difficult for the Fortune Giants but they drew all the energy they could from the loud traveling contingent of Gujarat fans and used that in their defense, that outperformed the Mumbai defense.
Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal showed that they are the best cover duo in the Pro Kabaddi League, scoring a combined total of seven points.
They helped offset the absence of Sachin during the latter stages of the second half, as he couldn't play due to an injury.
The match also saw Siddharth Desai become the third raider in season six to reach the 100 raid points total, ending the match as the leader with a total of 109 raid points.
He is now the joint fastest in Pro Kabaddi League history to the mark, taking only nine matches.
The result saw Gujarat Fortune Giants maintain their winning record against U Mumba. The win also helped them maintain their position in the Pro Kabaddi Standings.
They are now in the third position in Zone A with 34 points from eight matches and are in a strong situation to move to the top soon.