Bulls charge on a late 'Hi-Flyer' performance to win against U Mumba
In a topsy-turvy encounter, a late yet effective surge by Pawan 'Hi-Flyer' Sehrawat & their defence helped Bengaluru Bulls register a hard-fought victory over U Mumba. U Mumba entered this fixture after a successful Maharashtra Derby against rivals, Puneri Paltan, looking to rack up a second consecutive victory in their home leg at the Dome, NSCI Stadium in Mumbai, while the Bengaluru Bulls had one target set - to return to winning ways, after losing against the FortuneGiants in their previous fixture.
How Pawan bought the match back to Bulls favor- 5 Reasons why
1. Although U Mumba stayed ahead for large parts of the match, the lead never got significant and so Bulls were always in with a chance
2. Mahender Singh put in a couple of errors but in a game of fine margins his 4 points when it mattered most turned the game. He was also the best defender of the day
3. Bulls got 2 super tackles to find a way to bring back Pawan on the mat, but U Mumba couldn't get a single super tackle on the day.
4. Sandeep continues his up and down season, does not pick up a single point today.
5. Pawan, always Pawan. He scored just 3 points in the first half and although he was off the mat for over 40% of the match he managed to 10 points for his team in the second half and turned around a lead and gave his team the win.
The Bulls and U Mumba started off with shaky raids as Rohit Kumar blanked with an empty raid and both - Pawan Sehrawat (Bulls) and Abhishek Singh (U Mumba) narrowly stepped into the lobby to oust themselves in their respective raids. With a cagey start to the game still on, both the teams forced themselves in Do or Die raids and failed to register points.
U Mumba's Arjun Deshwal claimed to have got two of Bulls men in his Do or Die raid but a review was challenged by Rohit Kumar which ultimately dismissed Deshwal's claim and awarded the Bulls with a point. Following the successful review, the momentum swung in favour of Bulls as Pawan Sehrawat got the main man, Fazel Atrachali with a swift back kick. Bulls got up front with the lead 4-3, when Rohit Baliyan was brought down by their defence. Shortly afterwards, taking advantage of a miscommunication between the U Mumba defenders, Pawan dismissed Sandeep Narwal, leaving U Mumba on the brink of an All-Out. But Abhishek Singh calmly racked up 2 points in the subsequent Do or Die raid, bringing U Mumba within touching distance of the Bulls at 5-7.
With half time a couple of minutes away, the game was well tied at 11-11 before Bulls defenders Saurabh Nandal and Mahender Singh brilliantly brought down Arjun Deshwal to complete a Super Tackle and end the first half at 13-11 in favour of Bengaluru Bulls.
The break seemed to have served U Mumba well as they started the second half, armed with purpose. Picking up 4 consecutive points, the home side enforced the first All-Out of the match on the Bengaluru Bulls. The cagey trend of the match was well in place, the advantage of which fell in favour of U Mumba as they jolted to a 16-13 lead within the first 3 minutes of the second half.
Bulls saw themselves clawing their way to level terms, as Pawan Sehrawat and captain Rohit Kumar registered raid points dismissing U Mumba mainstays - Sandeep Narwal and Surinder Singh respectively. Arjun Deshwal put in some brilliant raiding displays to oust Saurabh Nandal and Mahender Singh and the U Mumba defense held firm picking up crucial tackle points and the home side saw themselves holding onto a edgy lead of 23-20, with 5 minutes to go for full time.
“First few matches I was taking a lot of pressure on myself but this match before the game, our coach told me not to take pressure and just go out there and express myself. He told me taking pressure is the captain's job, you just go out there and express yourself.” - Pawan Sehrawat
Pawan Sehrawat flew in to put on a late show with a 2-point raid, dismissing Sandeep Narwal and Arjun Deshwal in a big moment, reducing the home team's slender lead to just one point. He gave the Bulls the lead, following 2 consecutive raids in which he reached a richly deserved Super-10. The Bulls' late charge continued till the final whistle as Pawan helped enforce an All-Out on U Mumba, inspiring his side to a much needed, 26-30 victory from behind.
Match Preview: Can the Hi-Flyer outperform the 'Sultan' in his own den?
U Mumba enter the second fixture of their home leg on the back of a convincing victory over rivals Puneri Paltan in the Maharashtra Derby.
Adjudged Defender of the Match in the previous match, Fazel 'Sultan' Atrachali has a task to do to keep Bulls star man, Pawan 'Hi-Flyer' Sehrawat in bounds.
Averaging 8.5 raid points so far, Pawan Sehrawat has an uphill task on his hands to raid a formidable U Mumba Defence having the likes of Fazel, Surinder and Sandeep Narwal - all of whom have picked up 4 tackle points each.