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U Mumba suffers first defeat
U Mumba was not in the pink of form as Jaipur Pink Panthers trounced it 42-23 to make a successful start to Pro Kabaddi 2019.
The Fazel Atrachali-led U Mumba, which was never in the ascendancy in the clash, suffered its first defeat of Season 7 at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Monday. With teams being separated by 19 points, U Mumba returned home empty-handed. Captain Deepak Niwas Hooda (11 points) and corner defender Amit Hooda (5 points) were the chief architects behind Pink Panthers’ win. Raiders Nitin Rawal (7 points) and Deepak Narwal (6 points) offered great assistance to their skipper, who is leading the pack for a second year in a row.
The offensive trio of Deepak Hooda, Deepak Narwal and Rawal came good in the opening 20 minutes and that put Jaipur in a position of dominance. The three players combined for 12 points, with none of them coming in bonuses. Their hand touch artistry was on display so much so that they had only two unsuccessful raids in the opening period. During that phase, JPP also inflicted two all-outs (9th and 20th minutes) to put U Mumba in a spot of bother. The victor had a 13-point (22-9) cushion at the breather.
The second half had a similar script as U Mumba buckled under the pressure of the scoreboard, which kept reminding it about the gulf between the two sides. Pink Panthers completed a hat-trick of all-outs in the 38th minute to sign off the contest in some style.
The U Mumba corner pairing of Atrachali and Sandeep Narwal was largely ineffective throughout, pocketing a paltry three points. Jaipur coach Srinivas Reddy, who was at the helm last season as well, stated the match had great significance. “We have never beaten U Mumba in our first meeting. Hyderabad is where I come from, so to do it in front of my home fans feels great,” Srinivas said after the duel.
Dream debut forRakesh as coach
In the match-up between two debutants, Rakesh Kumar’s Haryana Steelers got the better of Anup Kumar’s Puneri Paltan.Captained by veteran Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Haryana completed a 34-24 victory to open its account in PKL 7.
A host of stars were missing in what was eventually a one-sided affair. Nitin Tomar (Puneri), Prashanth Kumar Rai and Vikas Khandola (both Haryana) did not even make it to the matchday squad. Naveen (14 points) put on a splendid show for the JSW-owned Steelers, snapping up a ‘Super 10’. In a fixture where the defenders did most of the talking, Naveen stood out, getting tackled only once. Steelers had a 22-10 lead at half-time and never let the game slip from its grasp thereafter.