In a thrilling face-off at the Pro Kabaddi League 2015 finale, the U Mumba defeated the Bengaluru Bulls 36-30 to be crowned as the new champions of the league. The Anup Kumar-led side held their nerve in a match that swung both ways, and ensured that their four thousand plus fans were not disappointed at the NSCI stadium in Mumbai.
U Mumba dominate first half:
Both teams banked heavily on defense in the initial phase of the first half. The U Mumba had come in well-prepared as they succeeded in keeping key opponents Ajay Thakur and Manjeet Chhillar out of the mat for a fair amount of time. Owing to Vishal Prabhakar Mane’s powerful defense, and immaculate raiding from Shabeer Bapu and Rishank Devadiga, the U Mumba surged ahead with a 16-8 lead at the half-time.
For the Bengaluru Bulls, Ajay Thakur looked off-colour in the all-important game, as he failed to collect a single raid point. He was tackled down four times by the U Mumba defenders and Bengaluru was left in tatters .
Shabeer Bapu stars in high-intensity second half:
Trailing by eight points, the Bengaluru Bulls came into the second half as a rejuvenated unit, and began to cut down the deficit. The U Mumba, on the other hand, made efforts to hold on to their lead by picking up raid and tackle points, occasionally.
In the 31st minute, Bengaluru’s Dharmaraj Cheralathan picked up raid point and closed down the lead to five points. After an empty raid for the U Mumba, Ajay Thakur came up with a brilliant super-raid as he dismissed the remaining opponents on the mat and picked up an all-out bonus as well. From 18-23, the game was now level at 23-23 and those were Ajay’s first points after 13 unsuccessful raids.
Shabeer and Anup Kumar land death blow:
The turning point of the match came in the 36th minute, when the U Mumba had a slender two-point advantage. Shabeer Bapu went in to raid and managed to eliminate 3 defenders with a breathtaking super-raid and reduced the Bulls to just one player.
After pressing on for a couple of minutes, Bengaluru conceded their second all-out and were now 35-28 with only one minute left to play. The visitors could hardly make anything out of the last minute and the U Mumba emerged victorious with a score of 36-30 at the full-time.
Manjeet Chhillar’s all-round effort of 11 points went in vain as the Bengaluru skipper lacked support from his teammates. The U Mumba would be proud of this achievement, as they were the most deserving contenders in this season of the PKL, seeing their performance throughout the tournament.
Telugu Titans beat Patna Pirates to finish third:
Prior to the final, the third-place playoff held between the losing teams from the semifinals, the Telugu Titans and the Patna Pirates. The Titans came out as the better team, as they registered a 34-26 win to clinch the third place.