“Our defence is the reason we are losing crucial points and that is costing us matches,” said U Mumba captain Anup Kumar. His status as ‘Captain Cool’ is now being put under the toughest of tests. U Mumba have thus far played three matches at home and all three have resulted in agonisingly close defeats, including the one they played against Dabang Delhi on Sunday.
As has been the case since their home leg started, U Mumba got off to a good start. If there was any match in which U Mumba put a stop their losing run, it was this one. Dabang Delhi have struggled to get going this season. They have depended on Meraj Sheykh and Abolfazl Maghsodlou to get raid points and the Iranian pair have been suffered from a lack of consistency.
Abolfazl ld Delhis’ efforts in the early minutes of the match. As Kumar had pointed out, U Mumba’s leaky defence cost them the early lead they had built. They soon suffered the first all out of the match in the 15th minute. But Anup Kumar and Shrikant Jadhav kept the pressure on the Delhi defence and somehow pulled it back. The score at half time was 17-17.
The second half was one in which both sides were unrelenting. Meraj started firing for Delhi while Kumar and Jadhav chipped away at the opposition defence. U Mumba have been missing Shabeer Bappu with the raider being out with injury for the past three games. On the day, Kashiling Adake was also uncharacteristically ineffective in his raids. That, coupled with Meraj’s efforts in attack meant that Mumbai lost their players faster than Delhi. They suffered a second all out in 12th minute of the second half and that was the first time that Delhi got a considerable lead on them.
Anup Kumar tried to pull his back and U Mumba kept the game alive until the last minute. But it came down to them needing to score three points in the last 20 seconds. They scored two of them and the score was 33-34 when the referee called an end to the match. U Mumba now get a day’s rest before they take on the mighty Gujarat Fortunegiants.