Bengal Warriors defeated Dabang Delhi 39-34 on Saturday to clinch their maiden Pro Kabaddi League title in front of a packed audience at the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad.
Naveen Kumar, with 18 raid points for Delhi, was flawless but could not win Delhi the match as uncharacteristic errors cost their title hopes. For Bengal, Esmaeil Nabibakhsh scored 10 points — highest for the side.
The Warriors did not have the services of star raider and captain Maninder Singh but got support with his presence as assistant coach of the team in the final match of Season Seven.
Delhi dominated the starting minutes of the game, storming to a 6-0 lead. Naveen Kumar certainly looked charged up for the event while Delhi’s cover combination of Anil Kumar and Vishal Mane also seemed keen to stop any raider coming their way.
The Delhi side clinched their All-Out in the 8th minute to open a four-point lead but the Warriors were a different side after the restart. Stand-in captain Mohammad Nabibakhsh picked up his game, clinching valuable raid points, as the Warriors quickly reduced Delhi’s lead.
Delhi’s Iranian player Meraj Sheykh impressed as a substitute, picking up two raid points in pressure situations, but the Warriors secured their first All-Out with under four minutes remaining for the break.
By the first half both teams were levelled at 17-17, but Warriors continued their momentum in the second half as they quickly got into the lead. Sukesh Hegde once again sizzled for the Warriors with some mature raiding, often getting the better of Ravinder Pahal in Delhi’s left corner.
Meanwhile, Naveen Kumar hit the 300-point milestone to bring Delhi back in the game but uncharacteristic errors in the defence with the likes of Joginder Narwal and Ravinder Pahal foiled his efforts.
The Warriors’ defence held tight in the final minutes to secure their maiden Pro Kabaddi League title.