Cheralathan-led Haryana posts fifth victory in nine matches in Pro Kabaddi 2019.
This was the Steelers' fifth win in nine matches, while former champion U Mumba is yet t o win back-to-back matches this season, slumping to its fifth loss. In what was a frenetic first half, Haryana reeled off nine points in a row against U Mumba to take a sizeable lead of 16-8 going into half-time. Until the 13th minute, the combatants were locked in an intense and engaging battle for one-upmanship with the lead constantly changing ownership.
Steelers star raider Vikash Khandola didn't take long to make his presence felt, winning a ‘Super Raid’ in the sixth minute to hand his team a slender one-point lead at 5-4.
In the next minute, U Mumba's MS Athul, who played for Tamil Thalaivas last season, got going bagging two points to reclaim the lead.
This template of the lead changing hands continued with each point until it was 8-8, when it was that man Vikash again who won a crucial Do or Die raid by getting Surinder Singh out.
That came as a fillip to the Haryana outfit as from thereon it took a stranglehold of the match and never once allowed U Mumba to threaten its supremacy.
Haryana inflicted All Out on U Mumba in the 17th minute. But to Mumba's credit, it waged a spirited battle in the second-half managing to stay close on the heels of Haryana. In fact, U Mumba substitute raider, Abhishek Singh, earned some crucial touch points to reduce the deficit to 17-20. But a couple of Super Tackles by the Steelers extended its lead and with time running out, there was little that Mumba could do to avoid going down.
What greatly hurt U Mumba's victory prospects was the rather subdued performance of raider Rohit Baliyan. It was Rohit who made a telling impact in his team's dramatic win over Patna Pirates in the last match winning a Super Raid in the dying minutes of the game, but against Steelers he was substituted after the first-half.
Yoddha stuns Panthers
The second match of the evening saw David slaying a behemoth in Goliath with rank outsider UP Yoddha emerging a deserving 31-24 winner over table-topper Jaipur Pink Panthers.
Panthers missed out on opening up a six-point lead at the top with a strangely error-strewn effort. This was Jaipur’s second loss this season, while UP Yoddha, which notched up just its third win, will hope that this timely tonic of a victory will revive its sagging fortunes.