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PKL: Maninder leads Bengal from front
Maninder Singh (17 points) led from the front as Bengal Warriors pipped defending champion Bengaluru Bulls 42-40 in a VIVO Pro Kabaddi 2019 thriller at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.
Maninder was ably supported by all-rounder Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh (9 points), who put in a shift in both departments. The Iranian, primarily a raider, notched up a ‘High 5’ as Bengal continued its good run in PKL 7. Pawan Kumar Sehrawat (19 points) was the top-scorer of the contest, but little support from his mates meant he had to settle for a loss.
Warriors is now second on table with 58 points from 16 games, while Bengaluru is fourth with 49 points from the same number of fixtures. Nabibakhsh set the tone early on by pulling off some impressive tackles for the home side. Maninder got into the act with a two-point raid in the 5th minute.
Despite being reduced to just two men, Bulls showed its character and mounted a comeback. It kept evading the attempts Bengal made to enforce an all-out, but Pawan’s absence on the mat did play a part. The host finally got the all-out in the 18th minute to nose ahead. A couple of bonus points helped Bengaluru reduce the deficit to just a solitary point (14-15) at half-time.
The holder started the second half aggressively and it paid dividends. It inflicted its first all-out in the 24th minute to move to a six-point lead. But Bengal clung on to the game and the pressure on Bengaluru told when Rohit Kumar went out of bounds, allowing BW to force another all-out.
The experienced Maninder came up with a three-point raid in the dying moments to give the home team all five points. Earlier in the day, Patna Pirates edged Jaipur Pink Panthers 36-33, thanks to good showing from Pardeep Narwal (14 points) and Jang Kun Lee (8 points).
Patna (30 points from 15 matches) jumped to ninth in the standings, while Jaipur (42 points from 15 matches) is placed sixth. The PKL 7 caravan now moves to Pune, where Surjeet Singh-led Puneri Paltan will host Gujarat Fortunegiants in the opening match of the leg.