The battle between Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans was one of the most anticipated events of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5. Fans were looking forward to seeing some intense action as the teams lined up at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday, and one will have to say that the match lived up to the hype as ‘Raid Machine’ Rahul Chaudhari’s Titans lost the contest 31-21 against the Rohit Kumar-led Bengaluru Bulls.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, the Bengaluru Bulls skipper was pleased with his team’s effort. “Winning the first match has improved our confidence for the rest of the league,” Rohit said happily.

Going into the league, coach Randhir Singh had preferred youth over experience while picking the team, and if one goes by this match, he appears to be spot on with his approach. “If you notice, in all the matches of the league so far the younger players have been doing well. It is a long league and I personally believe that the energy levels the youngsters bring to the table cannot be matched by an older team,” said.

Another star for Bengaluru Bulls on the day was raider Ajay Kumar who scored consistently in do-or-die raids, providing invaluable support. “I have trained him to be a specialist at do-or-die raids,” said Randhir with the characteristic pride and joy of a coach before adding, “When it comes to do-or-die raids, most raiders fail to handle the added pressure and try to score too late in the raid. You need a cool head to be able to do well in these raids and Ajay Kumar has what it takes.”

Ajay himself was happy to do well but was happier that he could contribute to the team’s cause. “Coach Randhir Singh trusted me by taking me in his team and I’m glad I was able to justify his faith in me,” said the young lad.

Telugu Titans though would be disappointed by their performance. Speaking on behalf of the team, raider Nilesh Salunke said: “It is a long league so one or two losses don’t immediately add pressure on a team. We have many more matches in the future and once we fortify our defence we will be as good a team as any in the league.”

In the other match of the day, debutants Haryana Steelers narrowly missed out on a win thanks to the heroics of U Mumba raider Kashiling Adake. Wazir Singh from the Steelers summed up the match for his team. “We played well but it wasn’t our day. We managed to tackle a lot of their raiders but Kashiling’s super raid made the difference. If we had managed to tackle him at that time, who knows which way the match would have gone?” he said after a 29-28 loss.