In a blow to their campaign in cementing a play-off spot, U Mumba fell to a first ever home loss in Star Sports Pro Kabaddi history after they were beaten 27-31 by Bengal Warriors who had fallen out of contention for a play-off spot. Earning a solitary bonus point, U Mumba continue to remain in fourth position with 36 points from 6 wins.
It might have been debated that the effects of the nerve wracking tie against Telugu Titans the previous night could have taken its toll on the home team. But they managed to dictate the pace of the game for the first 5 minutes, including a successful review by captain Anup Kumar that saw a touch point to the Bengal Warriors being reversed. Star raider Rishank Devadiga didn’t look in touch tonight, being tackled twice after a successful first raid. Surjeet was impressive with his blocks including a spectacular one where he single-handedly held off Monu Goyat in a do-or-die raid. But when half-time rolled around, the brilliance of Bengal’s star raid Jang Kun Lee had reduced the home team to just three men with the score 9-11 in favour of the opposition.
AThe second half saw a quick raid by substitute Nitin Kumar to stave off the all-out which failed when Jang Kun Lee eliminated both Jeeva Kumar and Nitin to hand U Mumba the all-out in the 26th minute, bringing the score to 10-16. At a similar point in their previous match, U Mumba had mounted an impressive comeback to secure a tie and with Anup’s quick successful raids, it looked to be going in the same way. The home crowd were also encouraged when Rakesh managed to use brute force to push a Bengal defender across the mid line and secure a touch point. But soon afterwards, a series of mistakes by the home defence saw another all-out inflicted on them, coming in the 32nd minute with the score now 15-26. At this point, while mounting a comeback to win the match was still possible, the more realistic target was earning a bonus point to still remain in the top four. Captain Anup scored two points before another defensive error and Rakesh being tackled saw the lead increase to 13 points for Bengal. It was at this point with 4 minutes to go for full time that Rishank began churning out successful raids in quick time. Add to that Jang Kun Lee being tackled in a do-or-die raid and Bengal Warriors were all-out in the final minute with the score being 26-31. The Korean came in for the buzzer raid which was also a do-or-die raid for Bengal with the game closing out 27-31 in favour of his team.
When asked whether fatigue from the previous night’s encounter played a part, Coach Bhaskaran disagreed. “It’s not really fatigue because we should have won this game but our defence faltered again. The one point we got towards the end was vital and that’s what we planned to get in the last 2-3 minutes with the deficit being too big to scale.” Coach Bhaskaran also intimated that U Mumba still had a chance to qualify for the semis with two games to go against Bengaluru Bulls and Dabang Delhi.