The first match of Saturday saw U Mumba take on Dabang Delhi K.C. in the battle of the metropolises and emerge victorious by a long margin at Nagpur’s Mankapur Indoor Stadium. The side from Mumbai showed that they had learned from their mistakes in previous games as they put in a strong overall performance to win 36-22.
The U Mumba defence finally came good after failing to impress in the previous two games, which gave the raiders confidence while attacking. Shabeer Bappu and Captain Cool Anup Kumar picked out the opponents’ tacklers quickly and inflicted a 9th-minute All-Out extending their early lead to 10-2. An injury to Dabang Delhi K.C.’s main raider from the previous game Anand Patil meant that the onus of picking up points in raids now fell on Meraj Sheykh. And he did lead a Dabang Delhi K.C. fightback as the team reduced the deficit to six points at half time at 8-14.
With just three men on the mat as the second half started, U Mumba needed something special from their players and that moment of inspiration came from N. Renjith. The tackler led a strong U Mumba defensive performance as they stifled the Dabang Delhi K.C. raiders and ran to an 18-9 lead. The going got tough for U Mumba soon after though, as Nilesh Shinde got a High 5 and R. Sriram put in a good dubki to remove two of three U Mumba players while raiding. However, the last player Anup kept calm to return with a super raid.
From there Dabang Delhi K.C. crumbled under pressure to concede another All-Out in the 16th minute. A yellow card for U Mumba’s Bappu may have been a ray of hope for the Delhi side but they could not capitalise. U Mumba looked in no trouble whatsoever as they kept stretching their lead to end with a 36-22 scoreline at the final whistle.
The result meant that U Mumba are now second in the points table right behind their Maharashtra rivals Puneri Paltan, while Dabang Delhi K.C. lie in fourth position.