Patna, February 17: Defender Mahipal Narwal gave the performance of his life to rescue leaders Patna Pirates from a certain defeat on home soil in the Season 3 of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi with the help of raiders Rohit Kumar and Deepak Narwal. Trailing under the onslaught of the Bengaluru Bulls for almost 30 minutes of the fast paced encounter, the twosome scored at will in the second half to first bridge the half-time gap of 11-20 to inflict an all-out over the losers to turn the match.
And just when the fate of Patna Pirates seemed to be hanging by a slender thread MahipalNarwal drew upon all his experience to trap rival SurjeetNarwal once and substitute Deepak Dahiya twice to prevent any slip up in the dying minutes. To his credit SurjeetNarwal with 14 raid points and a tackle point to add went down fighting like a true soldier.
The win, their eighth in nine matches takes Patna Pirates to 43 points while with their sixth loss the Bengaluru Bulls lie seventh with just 13 points, with the consolation point they got today for less than 7-point loss. The situation now looks grim for the inexperienced team from the garden city and their path will be full of hurdles as they attempt to fight their way to a semi-final slot.
They made a determined beginning today getting a point off the first raid through SurjeetNarwal and very soon were leading 3-0. But the league leaders managed to equalise in the 7th minute. The score then crept to 6-5 in favour of Bengaluru Bulls by the 10th minute showing the tenseness of the battle. Deepak Kumar had set the stands on fire in the Patliputra Sports Complex by then with a super raid worth three points to lay the foundation to inflict the all-out over the home team in the 13th minute. There was more in store as the game progressed towards the break.
Surjeet Narwal came up with two super-raids. The first of them gave him three points and the next four. The first came before the all-out and the next in the 19th minute following a review after the umpire had awarded three points. However, the review proved more beneficial to the home team. They were successful on three occasions in the second-half and the player who benefitted was Rohit Kumar the top scorer who was constantly getting irritated on not being awarded the bonus point by the match officials. His third review fetched his team two valuable points after his team was all-out again in the 21st minute and was 13-25 down.
Those two points would have taken the Bengaluru Bulls further up to 27-22 but then once it became 23-25 the tide turned gradually but surely in favour of the winners. They forced an all-out against their rivals and went ahead 26-25. It was experience versus youth thereafter and Rohit Kumar and the swift footed Deepak Narwal proved their coach Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan absolutely right. He had replaced the baby-faced PardeepNarwal much early in the match with Deepak Narwal.
With the scores at 32-30, Bengaluru Bulls took a timeout and their coach Randhir Singh impressed upon his players to be wary of MahipalNarwal who specialises in thigh holds. The wily old fox did exactly that to clinch the issue. It was a case of the general Surjeet fighting from the front with troops who still have to understand the nuances of doggedly holding on to a winning position on a battlefield.