The Lucknow leg of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 got off to a blockbuster start as U Mumba beat hosts U.P. Yoddha 37-34 at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium on Friday. The home side led for the most part of the contest but were pegged back in the closing stages thanks to inspiring performances from Captain Cool Anup Kumar and Shabeer Bappu, who top-scored for Mumbai with 13 points, including a Super 10.

Speaking on Bappu’s performance at the post-match press conference, Mumbai skipper Kumar welcomed his fellow raider’s return to form. “If he plays like that then we don’t have to worry at all. The opposition will have pressure then. He played well and I would want him to perform this way because it will be beneficial for the team,’ he said.

Kumar also showered praise on young defender Surinder Singh for his immense contribution in the tight win. “Shabeer and Surinder performed really well today because of them we got the confidence to perform well. There were mistakes in the defence and UP is also a very good team. But it was a complete performance.” 

Meanwhile, ex-U Mumba raider Rishank Devadiga ended up on the losing side despite scoring a game-high 14 points for his team, which included a Super 10. Summing up the encounter, Devadiga said: “See the match was very good. The defence from both the sides was making mistakes and it was an offensive match. In the last moments, the match slipped from our hands and we didn’t get that much time to recover.”

The second match of the day was another close encounter between Jaipur Pink Panthers and Bengaluru Bulls. Both teams entered the contest following defeats, however, it was the Panthers who returned to winning ways by edging the Bulls 30-28.