Dabang Delhi inflicted a third straight defeat on Telugu Titans, beating them 34-33 in a nail-biting finish at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad. Suraj Desai had a dream debut as the youngster beat the record for most points on debut, claiming 18 points in just 15 raids. Naveen Kumar was the star for Dabang Delhi, well supported by captain Joginder Narwal.
Telugu Titans had earlier slumped to defeats against the likes of U Mumba and Tamil Thalaivas and, though not officially, but was a sort of a do-or-die game for them.
Telugu Titans, coming into the game on the back of 2 losses in as many games, made some changes as Suraj Desai got his first start ahead of Rajnish. Dabang Delhi went with their predicted line-up and looked set to challenge the home side.
Suraj Desai had a dream start as he got two touch points in his very first raid. Delhi then pulled back some points, courtesy of Meraj Sheykh and then, Naveen Kumar, whose two points gave Delhi an early 2-3 lead. It was, however, an even start in the early minutes
Siddharth Desai then got his first points of the day, edging past an onrushing Vishal Mane to level the scores at 3-3. Delhi then got another couple of points before Vishal Bhardwaj got his first tackle of the night to cut the gap to one, and keeping the pace with Delhi.
It was Ravinder Pahal this time, who caught Siddharth Desai in a do-or-die raid to hand Delhi the lead, which was further extended by a brilliant Naveen Kumar. But it was Suraj Desai’s night who then put Telugu Titans in the lead yet again with a superb raid.
Siddharth Desai seems to have taken confidence from his brother, upped his game and made the most of the good support being provided to him.
It was then pretty much a raiding game as Suraj and Naveen got into the thick of things, and a point from Naveen Kumar just at the stroke of half time, broke the deadlock yet again, giving Delhi a 13-12 lead at half time.
Meraj Sheykh was then super tackled in the first move of the second half and the lead was back with the home side. Naveen Kumar then got Delhi close again, only to see Siddharth Desai getting in a Super Raid to get the lead back up to 3, with the score reading 20-17 in the favor of the hosts.
Naveen Kumar then pulled-off his Super 10 and a tackle by Joginder saw Delhi draw level. In what was a topsy-turvy affair, Suraj Desai and Naveen Kumar kept getting points for their sides to keep things neck-to-neck. However, a Super Raid from Suraj Desai got the Titans ahead by a point at the stage. Suraj too completed his Super 10 on Pro Kabaddi debut.
Captain leading from the front, Narwal got a Super Tackle on Milaghardan and Chandran Ranjit flowed it up with a successful raid to send Dabang Delhi 3 points ahead at 31-28.
It was end-to-end kabaddi and both teams kept getting points, keeping the gap steady. Raiders at either got tackled and the game entered the last minute with just a point separating the two sides.
Ravinder Pahal showed the presence of mind and composure to sacrifice himself, giving away just the point, and keeping Delhi’s lead in the game intact, helping the side win 34-33.
Little changed in the last phase of the game as it remained a Suraj Desai vs Naveen Kumar battle with the Dabang Delhi man, due to a little better support, helped his side triumph.
Dabang Delhi Starting Seven: Naveen Kumar, Vishal Mane, Ravinder Pahal. Joginder Narwal (c), Anil Kumar, Meraj Sheykh, Chandran Ranjit.
Telugu Titans Starting Seven: Siddharth Desai, Abozar Mighani (c), Vishal Bharadwaj, Farhad Milghardan, C. Arun, Suraj Desai, Amit Kumar.
Top Raider – Naveen Kumar (15 points)
Top Defender – Joginder Narwal (4 points)
Top Raider – Suraj Desai (18 points)
Top Defender – Vishal Bhardwaj (4 points)