Panchkula, Oct 2 (IANS) U Mumba sealed a Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) play-off berth as its skipper Fazel Atrachali starred in the defence once again to guide his team to a clinical 30-26 victory over Patna Pirates here on Wednesday.
The captain led from the front as U Mumba neutralised Patna’s Pardeep Narwal with a strong performance in the defence in front of a packed audience at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex here.
U Mumba started the first half brightly with the defence taking an aggressive stance from the first minute. Mumba played like a team keen on sealing a playoff berth and Fazel set the tone early with a double thigh hold tackle on Patna’s lead raider Pardeep in the very first minute of the match. Abhishek Singh, ably supported by Athul MS, provided the firepower for Mumba in the raids as they cruised to a lead. The season two champions clinched their first All-Out of the match in the 9th minute to open up an 8-point lead.
Fazel also reached the milestone of 300 overall points in PKL in the process. But Patna clawed their way back in the closing stages of the half thanks largely to improved performances by Pardeep and Jang Kun Lee.
Pardeep produced a two-point raid with under three minutes left for the half time to reduce Mumba’s lead to 5 points. The half ended 17-13 with Mumbai on top.
U Mumba started the second half with a super tackle on Pardeep but Patna composed themselves to stay in the match despite Pardeep being off the court for a long duration. Mohammad Esmaeil Maghsoudlou impressed with his all-round efforts while Lee’s improved raiding also helped Patna stay in touch.
Fazel meanwhile, was giving everyone a masterclass on captaincy, marshalling and motivating his troops to stick to the gameplan. His pat on the head of Young Chang Ko after a mistimed tackle by the Korean indicated the strong sense of unity Fazel had inculcated in the team.
Patna got lucky with 6 minutes remaining when Lee ventured out-of-bounds and took three U Mumba defenders with him. With the point margin reduced to just a point and the momentum heavily on Patna’s side, the three-time champions might have smelled an All- Out but Rohit Baliyan’s kick helped U Mumba revive another player to stay in the lead.
The Mumba defence held firm in the final minutes to clinch a seat in the playoffs.