AIDED BY STRONG ATTACKS from Shabeer Bapu and Rishank Devadiga and supported by some fine defensive work, hosts U Mumbai pipped Puneri Paltan 28-21 in the Maharashtra derby of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League here today.
U Mumbai, who thus notched up their fourth straight win in as many days to end the home leg matches on a rousing note, took the top spot in the table with 20 points while their rivals suffered their second defeat here at the NSCI Stadium, having lost to Telugu Titans yesterday.
For last years runners-up U Mumbai, who defeated defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers, Bengaluru Bulls and Patna Pirates in their previous three games here, Bapu scored eight raid points while Devadiga got seven, including two when just five minutes were left.
In fact, this phase of the game in the second half, when the two teams were tied at 18-all with nine minutes left after U Mumba had taken a 10-9 lead at half time, was the turning point as the hosts garnered four raid points to their opponents' nil.
Shabeer Bapu got one of them while captain and star raider Anup Kumar, who got two points in tackles also, got one, as U Mumba surged to a 22-18 lead to virtually seal their rivals' fate.
U Mumba finally won with a bigger margin than what they had bargained for at half time.
For Pune, skipper Wazir Singh was the pick of the lot with seven raid points and he was given decent support by substitutes Mahipal Narwal, who got four raid points, and Pravin Niwale (2).
Action now shifts to Kolkata for the second leg of the league commencing tomorrow