Naveen Kumar’s late heroics for Dabang Delhi K.C. broke Jaipur Pink Panthers hearts.
Dabang Delhi K.C. scripted a spectacular late comeback to beat Jaipur Pink Panthers 46-44 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Superstar raider Naveen Kumar completed his 10th consecutive Super 10 and once again made the difference with successful raids in the penultimate minute to give his team the win.
Dabang Delhi K.C. began the match in style after they followed up a successful tackle with a five-point Super Raid by Chandran Ranjit to take a 6-0 lead. They enforced an All-Out in just the fourth minute by executing another successful tackle to extend their advantage to 11-4. Jaipur Pink Panthers grew into the contest after the All-Out courtesy of a couple of successful tackles and some confident raiding with skipper Deepak Hooda leading from the front.
With the wind now in their sails, Jaipur Pink Panthers went on to inflict an All-Out after a Super Raid by Nitin Rawal that reduced Dabang Delhi K.C.’s lead to 16-15. Jaipur Pink Panthers then got their noses in front on the back of more efficient raiding and smart defending.
The closing stages of the opening period though saw Dabang Delhi K.C. regain a bit of momentum thanks to their talisman Naveen, who was uncharacteristically quiet for most of the half. However, once he came into the his own, Dabang Delhi K.C. reestablished control and went into the break with a 21-19 lead, while also reducing Jaipur Pink Panthers to just three men on the mat.
Like the first half, Dabang Delhi K.C. were looking to enforce an early All-Out. Jaipur Pink Panthers though had different ideas and fought back with a Super Raid from Sachin Narwal. They then executed a Super Tackle to wrestle back the lead and make it 24-23 in their favour. Another couple of Super Tackles by Jaipur Pink Panthers in the ensuing minutes gave them a three-point cushion.
The final quarter of the encounter witnessed Jaipur Pink Panthers enforce a second All-Out on Dabang Delhi K.C. to take a 35-29 lead with a little under eight minutes left in the encounter. However, in keeping with the theme of the contest, Naveen spearheaded a sensational late comeback with swift and decisive raids in quick succession. It led to Dabang Delhi K.C. inflicting an All-Out and moving into a 45-43 lead with seconds left to play. Naveen then held his nerve and completed a successful buzzer raid to secure the win for his side.
Jaipur Pink Panthers –
Best Raider – Deepak Hooda (9 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Pavan TR (3 Tackle Points)
Dabang Delhi K.C. –
Best Raider – Naveen Kumar (16 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Joginder Narwal (3 Tackle Points)