Naveen Kumar leads from the front in Delhi’s win

The defensive unit too deserves its fair share of credit, with Sandeep Dhull, Krishan Dhull and Vishal earning four tackle points each.
Naveen Kumar was the top scorer for Dabang Delhi with 13 points.
Naveen Kumar was the top scorer for Dabang Delhi with 13 points.

BENGALURU: Naveen Kumar delivered a captain’s performance in his first match as Dabang Delhi skipper as the defending champion made a winning start to Pro Kabaddi League Season 9 with a 41-27 victory over U Mumba at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here on Friday.

In the tournament opener, Naveen (13 raid points) was the chief contributor for Delhi, which inflicted two ‘All Outs’ in the ninth and 33rd minute.

The defensive unit too deserves its fair share of credit, with Sandeep Dhull, Krishan Dhull and Vishal earning four tackle points each.

“I am happy that we won Naveen’s maiden game as captain. Our defenders performed well,” Delhi coach Krishan Kumar Hooda said.

Despite missing key all-rounder Vijay who is out with an injury, Delhi was the superior team throughout the match. The Delhi defenders called the shots in the first half, where they secured eight points to U Mumba’s three. Thanks to the clean sweep early in the period, Delhi held a nine-point (19-10) cushion at the half-way mark.

While U Mumba staged a mini fightback at the start of the second half, Delhi inched closer to victory with the second ‘All Out’. Moments before the sweep, Naveen completed his ‘Super 10’, a mere formality these days, with a multi-point raid. Delhi could have completed a third ‘All Out’, but time was not on its side. However, DD had done enough to walk away with five points and ensure U Mumba returned empty-handed.

Meanwhile, much to the delight of the crowd, ‘home team’ Bengaluru Bulls edged out Telugu Titans 34-29 in a contest that went down to the wire. There was nothing to separate the teams when they headed in for the breather as the scorecard read 17 all.

But, Bengaluru bagged a crucial ‘All Out’ in the 35th minute, which opened up a five-point gap and tilted the match in its favour. Bulls held its nerve in the final few minutes to notch up the win. On Saturday, Tamil Thalaivas will begin its campaign against Gujarat Giants.

RESULTS: Dabang Delhi 41 bt U Mumba 27; Bengaluru Bulls 34 bt Telugu Titans 29.

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