WKL: United Singhs wins against Royal Kings USA




Ludhiana, September 7: The United Singhs owned by a Birmingham-based group edged out a fighting Royal Kings USA 59-53 to post their third win of the Wave World Kabaddi League at the packed Hockey Stadium in Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

Man of the Match Sandeep Singh Sandhu from United Singhs

Man of the Match Sandeep Singh Sandhu from United Singhs

The arrival of the Wave WKL into Punjab seems to have galvanized all the teams as the matches have become closer. After two close games on Saturday, one of them being a tie, the first match on Sunday was also a tight one with United Singhs emerging winners by a mere four points.

United Singhs showed themselves to be quick learners, as they began controlling their speed on the slippery surface after trailing in the first quarter.

As the match progressed, the difference between the teams was United Singhs skipper Sandeep Singh Sandhu who was not only the best stopper but also the Wave Man of the Match with eight stops. Sandeep is a player of Indian origin but is now UK-based and a British passport holder. Shafiq Muhammad Butt, United Singhs’ raider of Pakistani origin, affected 16 successful raids to carry his team to a fine win.

With their third win United Singhs now have six points from five games, while Royal Kings USA with two points from five matches languish at the bottom alongside Vancouver Lions and California Eagles. Reigning at the top of the League are Khalsa Warriors with four wins and one tie for a total of nine points.

United Singhs seemed to have got the grip of things, literally as they moved around much more deftly in both attacks and defence and held a slender advantage from the start. Yet the battle continued to close and intense.

It was Royal Kings, who got off to a good start in opening quarter and built up a two-point advantage at 14-12 but the United Singhs fought back very well to move ahead by the end of the next quarter.

United Singh’s Gagandeep Nagra was the lynchpin with four successful raids while Narvinder Bagga held the fort for Royal Kings USA with three successful raids.

The United Singhs fought back and moved into a higher gear in the second half as they not only closed the gap but moved ahead by three points at 29-26. As United Singhs staged their rally, the scores were level at 21-all and then again 23-all, before they edged ahead.

To make things better the weather cooled down, too. United Singh’s Pakistani import, Shafiq Muhammad Butt stood out with some excellent raids, one of them which was a brilliant escape from the clutches of Royal Kings’ stopper, Harkirat Singh. With seven successful raids in two sessions, he emerged as pivot for United Singhs.

Daljeet Singh with five raids in the first half of the match did his bit for the Royal Kings and Harkirat Singh was their main stopper.

By the end of the third quarter United Singhs moved into a stronger position opening up a handy nine-point lead at 46-37. In the defence, Sandeep Singh Sandhu continued to be the cornerstone for United Singhs, while their raiders, Gagandeep Nagara and Shafiq kept piling on the points from their successful forays.

In the final quarter, the United Singhs maintained their edge and did not relent despite a late fightback and narrowing down of the gap by the Royal Kings USA.

The Birmingham-based United Singhs have four players of Indian origin who are now based in UK and they also have Shafiq Muhammad Butt, a player of Pakistani origin. In contrast, the Sacramento-based Royal Kings USA have a US-based owner but their players are all essentially India-based.

The second match scheduled for Sunday between Yo Yo Tigers and Lahore Lions is about to begin. Both teams have six points each.

 

Scores at the end of each quarter

Quarter 1:           Royal Kings lead 14-12

Quarter 2:           United Singhs lead 29-26

Quarter 3:           United Singhs lead 46-37

Quarter 4:           United Singhs win 59-53

 

League position after Match 19 of the Wave World Kabaddi League:

 

Team Played Win Lost Tie/NR Points
Khalsa Warriors 5 4 0 1 9
Lahore Lions 4 3 1 0 6
Yo Yo Tigers 4 3 1 0 6
United Singhs 5 3 2 0 6
Punjab Thunder 5 2 2 1 5
Royals Kings USA 5 1 4 0 2
Vancouver Lions 5 1 4 0 2
California Eagles 5 1 4 0 2

 

Matches for next week: September 13-15 in Bathinda, Punjab

Sept 13: Yo Yo Tigers v United Singhs; Khalsa Warriors v Royal Kings USA

Sept14: Punjab Thunder v Vancouver Lions; Royal Kings USA v California Eagles;

Sept 15: Yo Yo Tigers v United Singhs; Khalsa Warriors v California Eagles

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