CAPTAIN ANUP KUMAR has a cool head and he proved it yet again by marshalling his resources in an astute manner to lead U Mumba to a 36-29 over hosts Bengaluru Bulls in Season 2 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi on 12th August. At the Kanteerava Stadium it was the Mumbai defence which played a major role in their creditable win with Anup prodding his hit men.
The first half saw Mohit Chhillar and Surender Nada trap their rivals’ star raider Ajay Thakur as many as four times. And if one sees it in the context of the match then Bengaluru captain Manjeet Chillar, being on the bench for close to 18 minutes, harmed them a lot.
The result has allowed U Mumba to reclaim the top spot with 50 points. Bengaluru who are still in the hunt for a semis berth have 32 points. They just about managed to squeeze one today by reducing the margin of defeat to seven. They thus displaced Jaipur Pink Panthers to occupy the third spot. Manjeet Chhillar who took upon himself the onus of raiding should be credited for that. He collected five points towards the end despite losing two to a super tackle.
Mumba after being in front saw their rivals equalise at 7-7, but once Rajesh Mondal, Ajay Thakur and Pradeep Narwal were trapped one after the other Bengaluru had to soon face an all-out in the 17th minute of play. Mumba received a minor setback when Bhupinder Singh had to be stretchered off but the brave youngster returned in the second half. The winners led 18-13 at half-time.
Anup continued his raids which were more tactical.
U Mumba preferred to rely on their defence in the second half. Substitute D Sureshu too served them well. He filled in well for Bhupender by scoring two raiding points and also aiding in defence. Rishank Devadiga also contributed his might with four points. To Mumba’s advantage Ajay Thakur failed to get any momentum. Pradeep Narwal and substitute Rakesh Narwal too failed to prop the Bengaluru attack. And once rival Jeeva Kumar who was subdued for some time started getting his ankle and thigh holds right to net six points Bengaluru’s defeat was imminent.
U Mumba never looked back thereafter as they went from strength to strength to inflict the second all-out to lead 34-22 with about six minutes left. Manjeet tried his best but that proved inadequate in the end. The Bulls face Jaipur Pink Panthers tomorrow and this will be a crucial tie for both as a win will bring one of them closer to their goal.
Captain Anup Kumar was as cool as ever after yet another victory for U Mumba. “I have heard that people think we are the toughest competition in the league and I am proud of this team which is called the toughest competition. Our job is to come out and be our best and play our best – that’s what we are doing here. And I am happy with the team because of that. We have a strong defence and that is an amazing thing. But it is better because we have a strong team and that is what makes a great team.”
This win was the icing on top of the cake for U Mumba who have already qualified for the play-offs. “I am grateful for having qualified for the play-offs. We need to keep our heads down and keep working hard.” said Anup Kumar.