4th March, 2016, New Delhi:Defending champions U Mumba are one step closer to retaining their title when they beat Bengal Warriors 41-29.
The first half saw a return for Fazel Atrachali to the starting seven and the appearance of last year’s final’s hero Shabeer Bapu on the bench. But it was star raider and undoubtedly U Mumba’s player of the season Rishank Devadiga who lit up the stadium with a super raid. This brought the Warriors closer to an all out with the coach bringing in Mahendra Rajput to save the inevitable. Fazel’s solo tackle inflicted the all out in the 10th minute with the score 11-3 at that time. The defence with Mohit Chhillar and Vishal Mane was working in perfect unison with veteran Jeeva Kumar and soon the Bengal team were staring at a second all out in the same half. Captain Anup Kumar’s brilliant raid saw him take out the last two men in the Bengal den in the 15th minute itself. The score at half time was 26-8 with Rishank crossing the 100 raid point mark in Season 3 as well.
The second half saw Shabeer being brought on for Rakesh Kumar. Rishank and Anup were constantly on the prowl and a third all out was suffered by the Bengal Warriors in the 27th minute. A victory for the defending champions looked all but certain which prompted the team to sit back and have a bit of fun. There might have been a lapse in concentration because Bengal began to fight back with 10 minutes left. The lead being big, neither coach nor captain looked too worried. A super tackle initiated by Mohit and Vishal preceded an all out for U Mumba in the 34th minute with the score 38-23. Substitute Paulyas was successful in bringing home another point and closed out the match 41-29 to send U Mumba into the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi finals for the 3rd season running.
Vishal Mane stressed on the fact that the entire squad was fit and injury free. "One good thing is that everyone is fit and no one has any injuries. Our replacements are also good and we have a strong bench. Shabeer has also come back which has boosted the team."
Captain Anup Kumar complimented their opponents in the finals, Patna Pirates and acknowledged how tough it would be. "We are ready for whatever Patna bring on to the mat tomorrow. They have been played very well throughout the season but we have beaten them once and that's what we need to do tomorrow to retain the title.""