Pune: Raider Naveen Kumar (12 points) came up with a solid performance as Dabang Delhi pipped Gujarat Fortunegiants 34-30 in the VIVO Pro Kabaddi 2019 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Sunday.
Though none of his teammates scored more than five points, Naveen managed to take his side across the line in the thrilling battle. His 13th consecutive ‘Super 10’ ensured Delhi consolidated its position at the top of the table with 64 points from 15 matches.
Gujarat is lying in the bottom half of the standings with 35 points from the same number of games as its opponent. Both defences looked sharp in the early stages and it suggested the duel would be a closely-fought affair. While Ravinder Pahal pulled off a couple of successful tackles for DD, Ruturaj Koravi looked in good form for GFG. After a few assessment raids, Naveen unlocked Fortunegiants with a five-point raid in the 9th minute.
That led to the enforcement of the first all-out in the match. Naveen dished out another two-point raid as the gulf between the two sides widened to 11 points (20-9) at half-time. But there was some bad news for Delhi during the break as all-rounder Meraj Sheykh and Anil Kumar had to be substituted due to injuries.
With just one man standing for Gujarat in the first raid of the second period, DD inflicted its second all-out to get a grip. Manpreet Singh’s men were on fire after the clean sweep, enforcing an all-out in the 26th minute to reduce the deficit. Meanwhile, Rohit Gulia scored a quick-fire ‘Super 10’ for Gujarat.
Naveen’s clinical showing and a dash by Vishal Mane on Sachin at the end helped Delhi take home five points from the encounter. In the second match of the day, Patna Pirates crushed host Puneri Paltan by a scoreline of 55-33. Pardeep Narwal (18 points) and Neeraj Kumar (11 points) were the best players for the victor.