Dabang Delhi beat Bengaluru Bulls to enter PKL final
Ahmedabad: Naveen Kumar was the star as Dabang Delhi on Wednesday beat defending champions Bengaluru Bulls 44-38 to book their maiden summit clash berth in the Pro Kabaddi League here.
The Delhi team produced an all-round performance, with Naveen Kumar impressing with his raids (15 raid points) and Anil Kumar dominating with his tackles (4 points) to win in front of a packed stadium at the EKA Arena by TransStadia.
This was the first time Debanag Delhi has qualified for the PKL final.
The Bulls, just like in the Eliminator against UP Yoddha, had a slow start, with Delhi dominating the first few plays. Ravinder Pahal seemed keen to maintain his dominance in duels against Pawan Sehrawat and started the match with a clean ankle hold of the 'High flyer'.
Delhi dominated in all departments, with Naveen Kumar spearheading the attack, and inflicted the first All-Out of the match in the fifth minute to open up a 6-point lead.
Pawan secured a three-point Super Raid in the seventh minute to reduce the margin but Delhi maintained their momentum thanks to an unstoppable Naveen Kumar. They inflicted another All-Out in the 13th minute to open up an 11-point lead as Naveen Kumar secured another Super 10 (his 20th consecutive).
Naveen did make a rookie error as he failed to complete a raid on time which gave the Bulls some hope going into the break. Delhi led Bulls 26-18 at half time.
The Bulls opted for a more aggressive approach in the second half with the defenders consistently getting better of the Delhi raiders in do-or-die situations.
But what makes Delhi a complete unit is the presence of versatile all-rounders and the likes of Chandran Ranjit and Vijay stepped up with valuable raid and tackle points to always maintain a healthy lead of six or seven points.
Pawan Sehrawat completed his Super 10 but Delhi tackled him successfully on a consistent basis to not let the high flyer inspire a comeback.
Delhi were aware of what Pawan Sehrawat could do on the mat and were keen on keeping the league's best raider in the dugout as much as possible. Bulls' star raider spent more than 20 minutes away from the mat as they struggled to reduce Delhi's lead.
At the other end, Delhi ensured Naveen Kumar spent very little time on the bench, and that helped them sure another All-Out with three minutes left in the match to open up a 9-point lead.
Despite Pawan's attempts in the last few minutes, Delhi defenders held firm to clinch a berth in the grand finale on Saturday.