29th February, 2016, Mumbai: A splendid display by Rakesh Kumar ensured that defending champions U Mumba remain unbeaten in the Maharashtra Derby of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi, beating Puneri Paltan 30-27 in a nervy tie.
The first half began with a strong showing from the Pune side that quickly neutralised Rishank Devdaiga, the man in form for the home team. Fazel Atrachali was also uncharacteristically quiet compared to his previous performances. The half saw U Mumba on the brink of an all out with Rakesh bringing captain Anup Kumar back in to try and hold off the inevitable. The first half ended with the scores level at 12 all.
In the second minute of the second half, the home team suffered an all out with the score 14-16 in favour of Puneri. Anup was the last man tackled despite attempting to get a touch point. Once the seven were restored, U Mumba quickly went about regaining the lead. Mohit Chhillar was judged to be out after tackling Tushar Patil but a review saw the defender remain safe. This spurred on a charge from U Mumba which saw a brilliant tackle from Jeeva Kumar and a quick running touch from Rishank. This saw the Pune team being reduced to 2 men and on the verge of an all out. The last Puneri player was touched by Anup in the 38th minute which saw the home team take the lead, the score being 30-26. An unsuccessful tackle from Rakesh saw the match end 30-27 and in favour of U Mumba once more.
In the post match conference, Rishank Devadiga was confident in the team’s performance despite his team trailing for most of the match. "This win is important because we have maintained consistency throughout these games. We are on a winning streak which is important for confidence. We want to maintain that momentum and push for No.1."
Mohit Chhillar, also present, recognised the fact that risks needed to be taken to win."There were 4 minutes remaining and we were trailing at that moment. The tackle (of Tushar Patil) was successful which is why we were able to win. The confidence now is very high because of the way we never gave up."
U Mumba now take on Telugu Titans on the 1st of March at Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium.