Ahmedabad: Bengal Warriors produced an outstanding show to beat Dabang Delhi 39-34 to clinch the Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 title. Playing in front of a packed EKA Arena in Ahmedabad, Bengal were crowned champions for the first time against another team which was vying for maiden glory as well.
Bengal’s consistency in the fiercely-fought season got rewarded as a composed performance by the team, led by skipper Mohammad Nabibakhsh’s 10-point game. Dabang Delhi's Naveen Kumar was brilliant once again with 18 raid points but uncharacteristic errors on the night, especially in defence, cost them the title.
Bengal Warriors were once again without star raider and captain Maninder Singh who sat out with injury. He, however, played a role on the sidelines as assistant coach.
Delhi started tremendously and stormed to a 6-0 lead. Naveen certainly looked charged up for the event while Delhi’s cover combination of Anil Kumar and Vishal Mane also seemed keen to stop any raider coming their way. Delhi side clinched their first All Out in the eighth minute to open a four-point lead but Warriors were a different side after the restart.
Stand-in captain Nabibakhsh picked up his game, clinching valuable raid points, as Bengal quickly reduced Delhi’s lead. Delhi’s Meraj Sheykh impressed as a substitute, picking up two raid points in pressure situations, but the Warriors secured their first All Out with under four minutes remaining for the break.
The closely-contested first-half ended with the scores leveled at 17-17.
Bengal maintained that momentum in the second half as they quickly got into the lead. Sukesh Hegde once again sizzled for the Warriors with some mature raiding, often getting the better of Ravinder Pahal in Delhi’s left corner.
Arguably the smartest strategy from the Bengal camp was to deploy the experienced Jeeva Kumar in a shifting cover role, depending on the raider’s strong foot. The decision helped as Bengal clinched another All Out in the eighth minute of the half to open-up a 4-point lead.
Naveen clinched his Super 10 in the 10th minute (21st consecutive and 22nd overall of the season) but Delhi struggled to get a foothold in the match with Bengal’s corner combination of Rinku Narwal and Baldev Singh also getting into the game. Bengal inflicted another All Out with six minutes remaining to open-up a 10-point lead.
Naveen kept trying to script a comeback for Delhi, hitting the 300-point milestone in the process, but his work continuously got undone by uncharacteristic errors in the defence with the likes of Joginder Narwal and Ravinder Pahal struggling. The Warriors’ defence held tight in the final minutes to secure their maiden Pro Kabaddi League title.
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Updated Date: Oct 19, 2019 22:39:30 IST