In Indian Premier League, Rohit Sharma has led Mumbai Indians to three title victories. In Pro Kabaddi League, two ‘Rohits’ combined to script a historic win for Mumbai at Thyagraj Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday.
Facing table toppers Gujarat Fortunegiants, raider Rohit Balyan and defender Rohit Rana scored 12 points among themselves to script a massive 36-26 win. Gujarat, who were unbeaten against Mumbai in 5 games since last season, failed to register another clean sweep against Mumbai, giving their opponents a historic win.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Gujarat coach Manpreet Singh said his team played well but Mumbai were better in defense. “When two best teams play, it is expected to be a close contest. Unfortunately, luck did not favour us and Mumbai were better in defence today,” he said.
He was far from wrong. U Mumba were a well-unit in defence. Rana combined well with Dharmaraj Cheralathan and both defenders scored 6 points each. Skipper Fazel Atrachali remained a strong force in the corner and earned two crucial tackle points in the match. The defense played a 4-man defence for most of the match and never allowed Gujarat to take charge.
Gujarat’s Sachin, whose name matches with yet another renowned Mumbai cricketer (Tendulkar), scored 8 points and remained the top raider. But, in the end, it proved to be not enough for his side to deliver the win.
“We made some mistakes the last time we played Gujarat, we had a ten-point lead. But we made some defensive mistakes. This time, we came with a better strategy and implemented it,” U Mumba coach Gholamreza Mazandarai said.
Delhi climb close to Pune
In the second match of the day, Dabang Delhi displayed an all round performance. Coming back from a heart-breaking 41-34 defeat against U Mumba, the home side maintained a strong lead throughout the match and ensured a comfortable 35-24 win. While raiders Meraj Sheykh and Naveen Kumar shined, the defenders Vishal Mane, Ravinder Pahal, skipper Joginder Narwal and Satpal stole the show.
“We were extremely disheartened by yesterday’s loss. And we wanted to redeem ourselves. We tried to fix the leaks in defense and played as per the strategies discussed by the coach,” Narwal told reporters after the match.
With the win, Delhi closed the gap to two points below Pune who are in the third position in the Group A table, thus putting them in prime position to advance further in the tournament.
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