An exemplary second-half defensive performance led by Neeraj Kumar (4 points) and Mohammadreza Shadloui Chiyaneh (3 points) helped Patna Pirates inflict a loss on Dabang Delhi KC for the first time the Pro Kabaddi League Season 9.
The Pirates won the third game of the evening 37-33 at the Shree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Friday.
A rematch of last year's final -- with many of the same protagonists -- the game promised high-fire action and did not disappoint. With the very first raid of the evening, Dabang Delhi captain Naveen Kumar took out Chiyaneh, the Pirates' lead defender.
Immediately after, his opposite number, Sachin, was caught out, leaving the Pirates without their two best players on the mat. Soon enough they were staring at an early All Out, only for Rohit Gulia to pull out a Super Raid to draw them level.
It was a resurgence that came out of nothing but sustained long enough to completely throw Delhi off. Within minutes, it was them staring at the bottom of the barrel, Naveen tackled out early, and Manjeet and Krishan were the only two on the mat.
But, Manjeet and Krishan pulled off two Super Tackles in a row between them to not just keep Dabang Delhi in the game, but take a small lead.
Ashu Malik's Super Raid -- catching out Pirates' Neeraj Kumar, Manish and Sunil -- drew them wide in front. Almost on the stroke of halftime, Delhi got the first All Out of the game and went into the break comfortably leading 20-12.
The Pirates entered the second half a team transformed, Chiyaneh and Rohit Gulia the key to their resurgence at the two ends of the mat. Not only did Gulia's raids keep scratching away at the Dabang lead, but their impeccable defending meant Delhi did not score a single point for the first five minutes of the half.
Despite strong resistance and another Super Tackle keeping Delhi alive, finally, the Pirates got an All Out of their own to level the game at 24-24.
From there, the Pirates did not let up, and despite Delhi's desperate defensive measures and ability to keep the scores close, Naveen Kumar's absence from the mat -- for over a quarter of the game -- meant the Pirates had exacted revenge in the best way possible.
A second All Out arrived with just a few minutes left, as the Pirates got their first win of the season.
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