The first leg of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi ended with U Mumba completing a historic feat – becoming the first Pro Kabaddi team to win all 4 matches at home. The Dome at the NSCI Stadium was the first stop for the second season of the League.
The season started on 18th July with the finalists from last season going head-to-head. Just like last season’s inaugural match, U Mumba got the better of Jaipur Pink Panthers, this time by a narrow 29-28 scoreline. Defender Jeeva Kumar was the star of the first match as he won 9 tackle points to get the home side off to a winning start.
The Bengaluru Bulls and Bengal Warriors faced off in the second match on the opening day, where Ajay Thakur led from the front with 11 raid points, helping the Bulls start their campaign on a winning note, beating the team from Kolkata 33-25.
Telugu Titans, who had spent heavily this season, hammered Dabang Delhi 36-27 in their first encounter of the tournament. Both the teams had not reached the semi-finals last season and the joint-most expensive player of the league, Meraj Sheykh – 7 raid and 3 tackle points - made sure they got off on the right note this time around.
The home team faced last season’s semi-finalists Bengaluru Bulls and star raider Shabeer Bapu, who had an injury-fuelled first season, ensured the home crowd returned home happy after securing a thumping 36-23 win on the second day. Bapu accumulated 10 raid points which included 9 touch and 1 bonus point.
Their derby rivals, Puneri Paltan kicked off their campaign against Telugu Titans in the first match of the third day and were leading 14-13 at half-time. However, Rahul Chaudhari had other ideas as he stormed through the Paltans defence after the break to give the Titans their second consecutive victory with a convincing 45-24 scoreline. The Titans skipper scored 12 points – 10 raid and 2 block – to seal off the win.
U Mumba emerged victorious in the derby
Rakesh Kumar-led Patna Pirates were U Mumba’s next victims on a night when the Indian captain had a rare off-day. The home team played out a perfectly tactical match and sealed out a 25-20 win, never letting the Pirates close to make it 3 wins in 3. Sandeep Narwal of the Pirates did not deserve to be on the losing side as he scored 8 points on the night, edging out Anup Kumar, who had a stellar game with 7 points, as the man of the match.
U Mumba completed a perfect home leg with a sweet victory over arch-rivals Puneri Paltan in the final match of the first leg of the second season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. This most-anticipated derby between the two teams was a close encounter, but Rishank Devadiga and Shabeer Bapu, buoyed by a vociferous home crowd, sunk the Paltans 28-21.
The action now moves to the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.
Team of the leg: U Mumba
Star player of the first leg: Shabeer Bapu