U Mumba began their home leg with a 33-23 win over Puneri Paltan at the Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. Arjun Deshwal and Abhishek Singh contributed 5 raid points each, while Fazel ‘Sultan’ Atrachali scored 4 tackle points to help their team emerge victorious in the first Maharashtra Derby of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 7.
Puneri Paltan’s defence looked to dominate proceedings early on and they raced to a 5-2 lead on the back of some decisive tackles by Manjeet and Shubham Shinde. However, U Mumba captain Atrachali halted Puneri Paltan’s early momentum with a Super Tackle in the 7th minute.
Atrachali’s tackle seemed to turn the tide in favour of the home side with Surinder Singh, too, joining in on the action in defence, while Abhishek Singh began scoring raid points. Puneri Paltan, though, wouldn’t let U Mumba have it all their way and responded with a Super Tackle of their own in the 12th minute to bring parity to the scoreline at 7-7.
The last five minutes of the first half saw the two teams match each other as neither side allowed the other to open up a substantial lead. Puneri Paltan skipper Surjeet Singh even scored a two-point raid during this period to momentarily reclaim his side’s lead. But two successful Do-or-Die raids by Abhishek as well as some solid defending by Surinder ensured that U Mumba went into the break with a slender 11-9 lead.
U Mumba inflicted the first All-Out of the match on Puneri Paltan within a minute of the restart to take a 15-10 lead. With home support and momentum now on their side, U Mumba decided to play intelligently without taking too much risk.
Atrachali and his teammates were happy to score most of their points through the defence, while Abhishek and substitute Arjun Deshwal were U Mumba’s main contributors in attack.
Their strategy seemed to be working as they opened up a nine-point gap midway through the half. Surjeet tried to respond again with a Super Tackle, but a successful Rohit Baliyan raid removed the Puneri Paltan captain from the mat.
Deshwal then took advantage of Puneri Paltan’s lapse in defence by scoring a two-point raid and ushering in a second All-Out on the visitors. Sushant Sail tried to forge a fightback for Puneri Paltan with a few swift raids late in the match, but U Mumba held their nerve to register a comfortable win.
U Mumba –
Best Raider – Abhishek Singh (5 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Surinder Singh (4 Tackle Points)
Puneri Paltan –
Best Raider – Pawan Kadian (4 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Surjeet Singh (4 Tackle Points)