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Pawan does the star turn for Bulls


Trailing 26-20 at one stage, the Bengaluru side rallies past Gujarat

For a few moments after the match, the Gujarat Fortunegiants stars were scratching their heads in disbelief and disappointment. This was a match they appeared to have safely in their grasp when they lead 26-20 with about eight minutes to go in the qualifier-1 of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here on Monday.

But Bengaluru Bulls bounced back strongly and shocked Gujarat, last season’s runner-up, 41-29 and entered the final which will be played in Mumbai later this week. Pawan Kumar was the big reason for Bengaluru’s stunning turnaround in the virtual semifinal.

The star raider first grabbed three points to bring Bulls closer — 23-26 — and a few minutes later got Fortunegiants all out with a superb raid which brought the team five points and gave it a 29-26 lead.

“That was the turning point,” said B.C. Ramesh, one of the two head coaches of the Bengaluru team. “But though we were down 20-26, we were never in doubt because we have players like Pawan and Rohit Kumar (both hail from Delhi) in our team. When they are there, anything can happen, Gujarat’s defence virtually collapsed after that.”

After conceding the lead, Gujarat, which had led for a major part, appeared to lose its confidence and was all out again soon.

Pawan top-scored for Bengaluru with 13 points from 13 raids while Rohit brought in 11 and defender Mahender Singh contributed six tackle points. For Gujarat, Sachin Tanwar had 10 raid points.

Gujarat will have another chance to enter the final for it will play the qualifier-2 later this week against the winner of Eliminator-3.

Easy for Yoddha

Later, UP Yoddha brushed aside Dabang Delhi 45-33 in Eliminator-3 and entered Qualifier-2 where it will play Gujarat Fortunegiants (the loser of Qualifier-1) for a berth in the final.

The results:

Qualifier-1: Bengaluru Bulls bt Gujarat Fortunegiants 41-29.

Eliminator-3: UP Yoddha bt Dabang Delhi 45-33.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 2:33:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/pawan-does-the-star-turn-for-bulls/article25874773.ece

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