Bengaluru Bulls kept their slim playoff hopes alive by beating Dabang Delhi K.C. 35-32 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Wednesday. Skipper Rohit Kumar managed a game-high 12 points and was well-supported by Ajay Kumar, who picked up a Super 10 as well. Bulls defender Ravinder Pahal also recorded a High 5.
Bengaluru and Delhi started the contest with a measured approach as neither team managed to assert themselves over their opponents in the opening quarter. The Bulls picked up their first few points through Ajay, while Delhi were more reliant on bonuses in the opening exchanges.
The sides kept trading punches as the half progressed with Ajay doing the bulk of the work for Bengaluru in offence. Rohit Baliyan and R. Sriram accounted for most of Delhi’s points, on the other hand, as both teams’ struggle to get on top continued.
The Bulls then finally took control of the match in the penultimate minute of the half by enforcing an All-Out on Delhi. A few swift raids by Rohit set up the All-Out for Bengaluru, who extended their lead to 17-9 by the end of the first half.
The pace of the action went up a notch in the second period with Ajay and Rohit picking up where they left off in the first half. Delhi though fought back primarily through Sriram and Baliyan, whose super raid in the 24th minute meant that the northerners now trailed 20-14. Bengaluru, however, kept their cool and widened the gap to 24-15 by the half-hour mark after an unsuccessful do-or-die raid by Delhi as well as a successful one from Rohit in the same situation.
Delhi were given a lifeline in the 33rd minute after Sriram baited four Bengaluru defenders into the lobby without being touched for four self-outs that made the score 26-21. Dabang seized the momentum and went on to inflict an All-Out on Bengaluru four minutes from time to make it 30-27. That was about as good as it got for Delhi though with Rohit and Ajay doing their job in attack, while Pahal defended astutely to see the southerners sneak over the finish line as Baliyan’s Super 10 performance went in vain for the northerners.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.