Two contrasting journeys for the two contenders of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi title – the mother of all battles to decide who will emerge victorious between U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls will take place tomorrow night. U Mumba, the favourites to win the title after their unsuccessful attempt in the first season, sailed through Season 2 in first position and beat Patna Pirates in the semi-final 35-18 with dominance and precision. Bengaluru Bulls were pushed to the end during the league and encountered a similar game when they faced Telugu Titans who they beat 39-38 despite holding a ten point lead at half-time.
U Mumba, with their consistency and depth, might start favorites for the night. Their dominating performances in the league phase has given them confidence which was on display in their semi-final. With a streak of 8 winning games and a secure starting seven, U Mumba could well be crowned Star Sports Pro Kabaddi champions on Sunday.
Captain Anup Kumar isn’t called Captain Cool for nothing. He didn’t disappoint on a day when his team needed him the most, employing the perfect strategy to tackle the opposition raiders in Patna Pirates. It also helps when there are talented youngsters willing to work hard like Mohit Chhillar and Surender Nada who have formed a formidable partnership in defence. When Shabeer Bapu is added to that lethal combination, along with support from Rishank Devadiga and Anup himself, U Mumba look like an unbreakable fortress.
That may not be the case against Bengaluru Bulls who are admirably led by star all-rounder Manjeet Chhillar and raider Ajay Thakur who will be integral to the Bulls overcoming U Mumba, a first for the Bangalore side in the league. Considering their record against the Mumbai side which includes them having lost in the semi-finals in Season 1 to U Mumba, it will come as sweet revenge if their first win against U Mumba comes in the finals. While the Bulls do not possess the same depth as U Mumba, they have a spirited leader and motivator in Manjeet Chhillar who is capable of taking his side to victory single handedly on any given day.
The Bengaluru team are more experienced and veteran with a bullish defence in Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Joginder Singh Narwal. They would have learnt their lessons from the aggressive attack of Rahul Chaudhari and Sukesh Hegde from their match against Telugu Titans.
Ultimately, the battle between U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls is one of their captains – calm and collected Anup Kumar against the fiery and aggressive Manjeet Chhillar.
Anup, as a leader, tends to advise his players through a quiet word or two before a raid begins. Rarely will Anup break out into a frown on the court. The U Mumba captain also goes out of his way to comfort the youngsters on his team who commit mistakes. Manjeet, on the other hand, requires only a look at his player which seems to convey the message. He is open to a hearty smile when the strategy comes off in favour of Bengaluru Bulls but he isn’t afraid of wearing his heart on his sleeve when it comes to voicing his opinion.
Come Sunday at the Dome@SVP,NSCI, the Mumbai crowd and everyone watching on TV is sure to be treated to a wonderful display of amazing kabaddi talent and two great captains and even future legends of Indian kabaddi on show.