Naveen Kumar was once again the star for home side Dabang Delhi as they beat UP Yoddha 36-27 in the second Pro Kabaddi League match on Sunday.
The 19-year-old raider picked up a Super 10 (16 points), the seventh consecutive time he has hit the milestone this season, as Dabang picked up an important victory that kept their 100 per cent win at home intact and pushed them to the top of the Season 7 points table.
Meraj Sheykh got a place in the starting 7 for Dabang Delhi after his influential cameo in their win against Bengaluru Bulls in Delhi`s previous outing while there was no Rishank Devadiga in the seven for UP Yoddha who went in with Monu Goyat as their chief raider.
The UP team rushed to a 4-0 lead in the early minutes as Goyat impressed with his raids. But the home side clawed their way back, riding on Naveen Kumar`s raiding abilities with his two-point raid, taking out Ashu Singh and Amit in the 9th minute levelled the match at 6-6.
Naveen Kumar was once again in the limelight as his raid with two minutes remaining to the half time enforced the first All-Out of the match on Yoddha.The closely contested first half ended 15-11 in favour of the home side.
Naveen Kumar, for Delhi, and Goyat, for UP, both raiders from Bhiwani (Haryana) were having a great day on the mat for their sides but Delhi`s defence marshalled by Ravinder Pahal and Vishal Mane proved to slightly better than Yoddha`s defence as Delhi opened up a healthy seven-point lead six minutes into the second half.
Pahal picked his and the team`s first High 5 of the season as the home side stamped their authority on the match. But the game belonged to Delhi`s young raider-in-chief though and it was hardly surprising to see Naveen Kumar be in the thick of things as Delhi forced another All-Out on UP with five minutes remaining in the match.
The raid also helped Naveen cross the 100-point mark in Season 7 (the second raider to do so after Bengaluru Bulls` Pawan Sehrawat) and open up an 11-point gap.
A four-point Super Raid by substitute Devadiga with less than four minutes remaining led to a tense end to the match but Naveen Kumar made sure there would be no let-offs with a few important raids in ending minutes. UP were found wanting despite a Super 10 by Goyat and would be looking to tighten their defence going forward.