Star Sports Pro Kabaddi: 3 teams seal semi-final spot in Bengaluru
The Bengaluru leg was the penultimate leg in Pro Kabaddi season 2 and it resulted in the confirmation of 3 teams for the semi-final spots. U Mumba, Telugu Titans and Bengaluru Bulls sealed their qualification for the playoffs in the 4-day stage in the capital of Karnataka.
The opening day of the leg witnessed league leaders U Mumba beat the home team Bengaluru Bulls 36-29 in a high-octane match. Anup Kumar’s team were level at 7 each after the 10th minute, but they stepped on the accelerator and surged ahead 18-13 at half time. They did not let their lead slip till the end and in the process, sealed qualification to the semis.
The second day saw Bengal Warriors knock Puneri Paltan out of the tournament by inflicting a closely-fought 31-28 loss on the team from Maharashtra. Shyam Kumar Sha and Jang Kun Lee got their revenge on Pune for the loss they had suffered at the hands of the Paltans earlier in the season.
The home team Bengaluru Bulls fell to their second consecutive loss at home, against Jaipur Pink Panthers in the second match of the day. The Bulls were outdone by a tactical masterclass by the Panthers, who took an early lead and did not let the home team stage a comeback by smart work by Jasvir Singh and the effervescent Sonu Narwal. Despite the best efforts of Ajay Thakur, Bengaluru suffered a 25-27 loss in front of their fans.
Bengaluru Bulls turn it around in style
On the third day, Patna Pirates kept their semi-final hopes alive with a narrow 34-32 win over Bengal Warriors, who, courtesy of this loss, were knocked out of the tournament. Gurvinder Singh and Ravi Dalal helped their side edge the Warriors by putting their body on the line, literally as Ravi suffered an injury and was ruled out of action for a couple of days.
After a disappointing first two days, Bengaluru Bulls got their campaign back on track with a sensational 40-21 win against Dabang Delhi. A sturdy Bulls defence kept the wily Kashiling Adake at bay as Ajay Thakur, with 7 points, and Dharmaraj Cheralathan, 8, starred in a dominant win for the Bulls.
On the final day, U Mumba, with the help of Surender Nada, Anup Kumar and Rishank Devadiga, handed Patna Pirates a 32-27 defeat to leave their semi-final hopes in the balance. With this win, last season’s finalists confirmed top spot for them while Patna will be hoping for Jaipur to slip up. If anyone would have thought that the hosts would be given a tough fight by the Telugu Titans in the final match of the leg, those claims were dispelled by the resolute Bengaluru boys.
The Bulls showed their quality by beating the Titans 43-29 in a match which they dominated throughout, never letting the visitors take the lead. Manjeet Chhillar scored 9 points, while the oldest player in the league – Dharmaraj Cheralathan, amassed 7 points to help the Bulls book their ticket for the semi-finals. The Titans, without Rahul Chaudhari and Sukesh Hegde, proved to be no match for the Bulls, who were backed by a packed Kanteerava Stadium.
The league now moves to its final destination in the group stage, Pune, where the final team for the semi-final will be decided while the Puneri Paltan will look to make an exit from the tournament with some pride.