The 3rd Senior Federation Cup Kabaddi tournament got into full swing on Saturday as the big names of the game made their presence felt on the mat. Star-studded Haryana had to rely heavily on their experienced players to get the better off Uttar Pradesh (37-23) and Rajasthan (46-43) and book a semi-final spot. Rishank Devadiga, once again, played a vital role as Maharashtra overturned a deficit late on in their clash against Rajasthan to win 52-49 and seal their progress to the last four.
In Group B, Services too came from behind to hammer Indian Railways 41-29 in their only game of the day before the latter got themselves back in contention for semi-final spots with a hard-fought 47-46 win over Karnataka.
In the women's category, Himachal Pradesh proved their national championship victory was no fluke as they eased past a formidable Punjab (36-21) and took Chhattisgarh (43-24) to the cleaners in their two encounters on Saturday. In Group B, Haryana got the better of Maharashtra (41-35) in a thrilling encounter after the north Indians had to suffer 45-34 reverse at the hands of Indian Railways in their opening game of the day.
Anup Kumar loses cool, but wins Haryana the game
'Captain cool' Anup Kumar got involved in a heated argument with a Rajasthan defender and was shown a yellow card that saw him sit out of the game for two minutes. While the behaviour was quite unlike Anup, the Haryana skipper was at his very best during his raids. Apart from Anup, veteran all-rounder Manjeet Chhillar too stamped his class on the encounter. The Jaipur Pink Panthers' all-rounder scored three raid points in two raids at a crucial juncture in the game. It was those points that eventually saw the game drift towards Haryana.
In the earlier game, Ravinder Pahal rescued Haryana from a tricky position, playing a hand in three super tackles. Haryana were reduced to just three men on the mat, but Pahal's heroics ensured UP couldn't force an all-out. Haryana brought all their experience into play to slowly turn the situation around and build a strong lead. Anup and Deepak Kumar Dahiya scored five points apiece as Haryana cruised to a victory.
Nitin Tomar, Devadiga put in captain's performance
Nitin Tomar's 4-point raid proved to be the turning point as Services wiped off a deficit to beat Indian Railways. The Services skipper was well-supported by Monu Goyat and substitute Gurunath More as the Railways side collapsed in the second half.
Similarly Devadiga scored 13 points to help Maharashtra come from behind to beat Karnataka. Nilesh Salunke who scored a crucial super raid also accounted for 11 points. It was yet another close encounter that Maharashtra were able to turn it in their favour, a habit that helped them claim the national championship title after a gap of 11 years in January.
Maharashtra and Haryana will face off in the final round of league matches with top spot in Group A stake, while it will be all to play for in Group B with Services, Indian Railways and Karnataka involved in a three-way tussle for the semi-final spots. Pardeep Narwal's Uttarakhand will have to show vast improvement from their opening day loss to Karnataka to mount a challenge for a place in the knock-out stages.
In the women's category, Punjab and Chhattisgarh will battle it out for second place in Group A, while Group B is wide open with all four sides still in contention for a knock-out berth.
Updated Date: Feb 11, 2018 19:12 PM