Mumbai: Hosts U Mumba pulled off a thrilling 29-28 win over defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers to kick off their campaign in the Star Sports Pro-Kabaddi League on a rousing note at the NSCI Stadium here on Saturday.
The Mumbai franchise had the better hold of the proceedings almost throughout the game and came up with important points to clinch the opening game of season 2 against last year's champions.
After taking a comfortable 9-5 lead Mumbai allowed their Jaipur rivals to claw the way back to 10-all and even held a one point lead before Mumbai edged in front to 16-15 with a two-point super tackle just before half time.
Mumbai led again in the beginning of the second half to take a 23-20 lead only to see Jaipur regain the advantage by making the hosts all out. The score was level at 25-all with five minutes remaining when Shabeer Bapu, who was successful with just one raid out of ten till then got Mumbai a vital point with a raid.
Rishank Devadiga increased it by one more with two minutes left before Jaipur cut it by one. Star raider Anup Kumar, till then a disappointment for Mumbai, came up with a successful raid and then the hosts trapped Jaipur's leading raider Jasvir Singh to take a 29-26 lead. Jaipur secured two points in the last minute but it was one too little.
For Mumbai, who held a 10-7 edge in raids, Jeeva Kumar (9) and Mohit Chillar (3) were the top players in defence while Anup (4), Devadiga (3) and Shabeer Bapu (3) did enough to see them through.
For Jaipur, who twice made Mumbai all out, Jasvir had an all-round outing with 4 points from raids and three from defense while Kuldeep Singh topped in tackling with 5 points.
The match was watched by Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, cricket legend Kapil Dev, along with Bollywood stars Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, whose son Abhishek is the owner of the Jaipur team. Rishi Kapoor, Aamir Khan and Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh were also there among some of the other Bollywood celebrities.
In the second game of the day, Bengaluru Bulls made a splendid fight back after trailing 2-12 early in the first half to get the better of Bengal Warriors 33-25. The southern outfit made a charge when they were 6-14 down and trailed by just one point (15-16) at the end of the opening half of the game.
Bengaluru commenced the second half in storming fashion to take a handy 23-17 lead which they increased further to 27-18. Though Bengal tried their best, the leeway they had conceded was too large to bridge and they finally went down quite tamely.
Raider Ajay Thakur was the top performer in the winners' turn with 11 points while substitute Rajesh Mondal got three. In defence Manjeet Chillar and Somvir Shekar caught the eye with three points each.
Dinesh Kumar was the most successful raider for the losers with six touch points while Nilesh Shinde (4 points) did well in defence.