Bengaluru Bulls coasted to a comfortable 33-25 win over a new look Bengal Warriors who for a while threatened their rivals by surging towards a substantial 12-2 lead by the 9th minute. Comeback man, former India captain and twice Asian Games gold medalist Dinesh Kumar led the charge for the Warriors from the front at the NSCI in Mumbai.
The Warriors made a good start by trapping rival raider Ajay Thakur and then running through the rest of the side. The lanky boy from Himachal was not to be kept quiet for long and he later came up with a scintillating raid in the second half that yielded 4 points. Earlier, Bengaluru committed a lot of unforced errors in defence. As a result the winners suffered an all- out, in Kabaddi terms a ‘LONA’ that gave the losers a 10- point advantage.
With things looking a bit worrisome, in stepped Manjit Chillar like a true leader to set up the recovery. He twice used his famous front block to subdue a marauding Dinesh and within no time the winners paid back the compliment of a lona. At 14-12 the game slowed down a bit and the teams trooped out for the break with the Bengal outfit 16-15.
Gaining in confidence thereafter the bulls gave their rivals another ‘LONA’ to surge 22-16 and that four-pointer by Ajay ultimately swung the match in Bangalore’s favor. Try as much the Warriors did they could never bridge the gap despite getting Ajay twice with super tackles. Dinesh faded away and the impressive South Korean Jan Kun Lee too found the going tough after the initial success he earned. He did score a couple of points but that was not good enough. The absence of their dependable raider Nitin Madane who was injured and did not take the field marred Bengal’s chances no doubt.
The Bengal side can take heart from the fact that they did run the opponents close and there is scope for improvement. For the Bulls Rajesh Mondals act on the day gives them added fire power but the defence led by Dharmaraj Cheralathan needs to pull up their socks.
Ajay Thakur was rightly chosen the Man of the match. He was also undoubtedly the best raider for that memorable raid that yielded four points. There was some consolation for veteran corner man Nilesh Shinde of Bengal as he received the inspiring defender of the match. The audience too voted in his favour, which set the seal of approval on his performance.
Match 2 awards:
TVS Best Raider of the Match - Ajay Thakur (Bengaluru Bulls)
Bajaj Electricals Inspiring Defender of the match - Nilesh Shinde (Bengal Warriors)
IIFL Private Wealth Moment of the Match award - Ajay Thakur (Bengaluru Bulls)
VIP Frenchie Big Impression Player award - Ajay Thakur (Bengaluru Bulls)
Flipkart Audience ki wish award (Player of the match) - Ajay Thakur (Bengaluru Bulls)