Senior National Kabaddi Championships 2017: Rishank Devadiga's heroics lead Maharashtra to victory over Services in the final
Monu Goyat dazzled but failed to overshadow Rishank Devadiga, who led Maharashtra to their first Nationals title in 11 years.
The weekend came a day early for kabaddi lovers of Hyderabad as The Gachibowli Indoor stadium became witness to the highest brand of Kabaddi on Friday when it hosted three enthralling encounters of the Senior National Kabaddi Championship - the two semi-finals and a final. Maharashtra and Services locked horns in the finals after defeating Karnataka and Haryana respectively.
The final provided a showdown between two stars of Indian kabaddi as Monu Goyat and Rishank Devadiga showed exactly why they're such big names with stellar performances, both of which didn't deserve to end up on the losing side. However, the lack of support from other Services raiders meant that Goyat's heroics went in vain as Devadiga successfully led Maharashtra to the Senior National Kabaddi Championships 2017 title.
Devadiga started the finals exactly from where he had left in the semi-final as he dented Services with a Super Raid first up. Sevices struck back through Monu Goyat who helped them open their account.
It was the turn of Maharashtra defence’s turn to earn their team some points as they brought down Monu Goyat and Nitin Tomar in consecutive raids to leave Services tottering at the 10-minute mark. Ajay Kumar, who had just been revived, then ran down the clock without finding any human contact and made his way to the dugout once again. Maharashtra took full advantage of the absence of Services strike raiders on the mat and inflicted the first All-Out in the 14th minute of the game to take a 9-point lead.
A rejuvenated Services then nibbled down on the lead in the remaining minutes of the first half through Goyat who helped his team stage a comeback by getting 2 raid points twice before the end of the first half to narrow down the lead to 5 points at the halftime mark.
Maharashtra, much to their credit, delayed the inevitable of an All-Out to the 22nd minute of the game but Monu Goyat's third 2-pointer helped his team inflict the All-Out and narrow the gulf between the two teams. Goyat also beat Devadiga to a Super 10 but much to his dismay, none of his fellow raiders could prove half as effective as him in the all-important fixture.
Another 2-pointer by Goyat in the 28th minute of the game helped Services catch up with Maharashtra's tally of 22 points, the first time they had managed this feat. With the score locked at 25-25 in the 32nd minute, a tense finish became inevitable.
The match, however, took an interesting turn when Goyat, who had conjured 5 two-pointers till then, ended up conceding 2 points on the raid that allowed Maharashtra to get in front as well as revive their talismanic skipper Rishank Devadiga. With Devadiga back in their ranks, Maharashtra didn't take the foot off the pedal and saw off some nervous last minutes to lay their hands on the title with a five-point win.
Earlier, the teams dished out top-drawer entertainment in the semi-final encounters as well. Services snuffed out some late resistance by Haryana to emerge winners in a contest where they always had managed to keep their noses ahead.
Raiders Goyat and Nitin Tomar were the stars of the show as they made light work of a defence consisting of formidable names like Surender Nada and Ravinder Pahal. Even Anup Kumar failed to bring his Midas touch to the side as they went down 32-28.
Breathtaking action was on offer in the first semi-final encounter where Rishank Devadiga's Maharashtra just about managed to put Karnataka behind to manage a berth in the finals. It was Rishank Devadiga's Do or Die effort in the final minute of the game that helped them clinch a win by the narrowest of margins.
However, Maharashtra had themselves to blame for the rut they found themselves in towards the end as they had sailed smoothly in the first half to lead their opponents by 11 points into the halftime. However, Devadiga saw them through with a do-or-die raid on the buzzer.
In the women's section, it was an unfancied Himachal Pradesh team that took him the trophy by defeating Railways in the final. The match ended 38-25 in favour of the team from the hilly state.
Here is the full set of scores and results from the day's action!
Semifinal 1 - Karnataka 35-34 Maharashtra
Semifinal 2 - Services 32-28 Haryana
Final - Mahrashtra 34-29 Services
Semifinal 1 - Railways 30-23 Punjab
Semifinal 2 - Himachal Pradesh 30-26 Haryana
Final - Himachal Pradesh 38-25 Railways