A scintillating display by ‘Hi-Flyer’ Pawan Sehrawat inspired Bengaluru Bulls to a 30-26 win over U Mumba at the DOME@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. It was a topsy-turvy affair, with the advantage shifting consistently throughout the match, but Pawan’s late surge finally tipped the scale in Bengaluru Bulls’ favour.
Both teams went toe-to-toe in the opening phases with U Mumba taking a narrow 3-2 advantage after the opening five minutes. However, a Sehrawat touch point on Fazel Atrachali handed Bengaluru Bulls the momentum. The Hi-Flyer kept chipping away at the U Mumba defence to soon reduce them to a single player on the mat. Staring down an early All-Out, Abhishek Singh ensured the home team's survival with a crucial touch point on Ashish Sangwan.
From there on, U Mumba engineered a good recovery, aided by Rajaguru Subramanian's Super Tackle on Pawan and three raid points from Arjun Deshwal. The momentum kept swinging between the two teams for the remainder of the first period but two Super Tackles by Bengaluru Bulls in the final five minutes saw the reigning champions take a 13-11 lead into the break.
U Mumba came out with purpose in the second half and picked up four back-to-back points to enforce the first All Out of the match on Bengaluru Bulls. Keeping with the trend of the match, the advantage swung yet again as U Mumba raced to a 16-13 lead within three minutes of the restart.
Bengaluru Bulls tried hard to claw their way back to parity, with Pawan, captain Rohit Kumar and raider Mohit Sehrawat picking up points. But some great raiding by Deshwal and tackle points by the defence helped U Mumba keep their nose in front. With five minutes left on the clock, the home side held a slender 23-20 lead.
A two-point raid by Pawan to take Sandeep Narwal and Deshwal out of the match helped Bengaluru Bulls cut down U Mumba’s lead to just one. Last season’s MVP then brought his team right back into the match and gave them the lead with two successful raids on the trot and in the process, reached his Super 10. Pawan’s late surge continued till the final whistle as he helped enforce an All-Out on U Mumba and inspired Bengaluru Bulls to a 30-26 win.
U Mumba –
Best Raider – Arjun Deshwal (6 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Fazel Atrachali (2 Tackle Points)
Bengaluru Bulls –
Best Raider – Pawan Sehrawat (11 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Mahender Singh (3 Tackle Points)