Crucial tackles from Amit Sheoran and Raju Lal Choudhary in the final few minutes of the match saw Bengaluru Bulls win the Southern Derby against Telugu Titans by a scoreline of 34-26 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Wednesday. Sheoran, Choudhary and Ashish Kumar combined to score 12 tackle points in a game dictated by the defences.

The first half started in spectacular fashion with Rohit Kumar scoring two touch points in the very first raid of the match. Pawan Kumar Sehrawat was also off the mark early with a Running Hand Touch on Rakshith. But Rahul Chaudhari answered fire with fire, scoring a bonus point in his first raid and following it up with a touch point on Mahender Singh to even the scores at 4-4. Kashiling Adake joined the party, scoring two points in two raids, before Ashish Kumar tackled Rajnish to give their team three straight points and reduce Telugu Titans down to just three men.

Check out the photos from the match here.

With the Super Tackle on, Telugu Titans flexed their defence prowess courtesy of Abozar Mohajermighani’s tackle on Rohit Kumar to earn a couple of points for his side. Left Corner Vishal Bhardwaj wasn’t to be left behind, as he tackled Adake, swinging momentum firmly in Telugu Titans’ favour. Substitute Mahesh Maruti Magdum temporarily levelled the score with a two-point raid, but Chaudhari’s touch point on Mahender Singh and Farhad Milaghardan’s tackle on Rohit Kumar reduced Bengaluru Bulls to a solitary man. He surrendered the point, handing Telugu Titans a 15-10 lead. Sehrawat scored the final point of the half with a touch on Mighani as the teams headed into the break with Telugu Titans leading 15-11.

The opening 10 minutes of the second half saw both teams score in spurts, starting with Bengaluru Bulls’ four- point-run that saw them level the score at 17-17. Telugu Titans replied with three points on the trot courtesy of a bonus point from Rakshith and two magnificent tackles from Milaghardan and Bhardwaj. Trailing by three, Bengaluru Bulls repeated their opponents’ sequence to level the score at 20-20.

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With their backs against the wall, Bengaluru Bulls needed a response and their defence provided it. Ashish Kumar and Amit Sheoran’s tackles followed by Raju Lal Choudhary’s first tackle point of the night brought down Telugu Titans’ lead to just one.

The match’s turning point came in the 37th minute when Rohit Kumar successful evaded Mighani’s double Thigh Hold attempt, sending him to the bench and levelling the score at 25-25. The defence continued their stellar spell leaving only two men on the mat for Telugu Titans.

Sheoran tackled substitute Mohsen Maghsoudlou and Bhardwaj was powerless in stopping Rohit Kumar from getting a touch point as Bengaluru Bulls inflicted the All-Out and took a 31-25 lead in the match with barely a minute left on the clock. Choudhary and Sheoran continued their late impact in the contest, scoring two more tackle points before Sehrawat added to his tally on the night by escaping a tackle attempt from Mighani.

Maghsoudlou managed to get the final point of the match to end Bengaluru Bulls’ scoring run as the clock expired and Bengaluru Bulls extended their lead at the top of Zone B to 14 points.

Top Performers:

Bengaluru Bulls -

Best Raider: Rohit Kumar (8 Raid Points)

Best Defender: Amit Sheoran (5 Tackle Points)

Telugu Titans -     

Best Raider: Rahul Chaudhari (6 Raid Points)

Best Defender:  Vishal Bhardwaj (6 Tackle Points)