​Dabang Delhi extend their stay atop of the table with a slim 36-35 win over Telugu Titans

Naveen Kumar bagged his 27th successive 'Super 10' for Dabang Delhi in their match against Telugu Titans

Dabang Delhi rode on Naveen Kumar’s 25-point heroics as they beat the Telugu Titans 36-35 in Match No. 35 of PKL 8 at the Sheraton Ground Convention Centre on Wednesday.

The Telugu Titans opened the floodgates after Rohit Kumar scored a bonus while Naveen did the same for Dabang Delhi to set their ball rolling. However, the latter took a three-point lead soon into the game courtesy of Naveen Kumar’s ability to escape fankle, thigh, and back hold.

Joginder Narwal’s trademark thigh hold from behind nearly reduced Telugu to two players but he stepped into the lobby beforehand. Rajnish Dalal escaped from Jeeva Kumar’s thigh hold as it trimmed the lead to just one point and Ankit Beniwal finally equalized the scoreline after diving past the mid-line in the Titans’ next raid.

Ashu Malik broke the chain to try an advanced tackle on Rajnish but failed miserably as Delhi found themselves down to three men. While Naveen kept on amassing bonuses from the other side, Rajnish continued his clinical run with a kick on Krishan.

Delhi delayed the ‘All Out’ for the time being as Naveen’s bonus and extended hand touch in his ‘Do-or-Die’ raid gave them a two-point lead. However, Rajnish had enough as he dashed past all three Dabang defenders to inflict the first ‘All Out’ with the scoreline favoring the Titans 15-12.

Joginder Narwal initiated an ankle hold on Rajnish while the other defenders assisted him to force the latter on the bench for the first time in the contest.

Naveen kept on picking up one point apiece while raiding and Manjeet Chillar outmuscled Adarsh with a dash to regain Delhi’s momentum. With the ‘Super Tackle’ on, Surender Singh commenced a crouching thigh hold on Naveen to take him off the mat for the first time as he leveled the scoreline at 18-all before the teams changed courts.

Rajnish stepped out of bounds while defending as Dabang got their noses upfront in the second half. The Naveen Express bagged a touchpoint on substitute Prince while Delhi defenders dashed the last man Surender Singh to enforce an ‘All Out’ as the scoreline read 24-19 in favor of them.

Surender took a gamble by commencing an advanced tackle on Naveen from near the mid-line, however, it paid dividends as it put the former on the bench.

Rajnish Dalal collected 20 raid points for Telugu Titans but it went in vain

Rajnish Dalal collected 20 raid points for Telugu Titans but it went in vain

Rajnish completed his ‘Super 10’ after getting a hand touch on Jeeva in his Do-or-Die raid while Delhi found themselves down to three men. Ashu Malik evaded Ruturaj Koravi’s thigh hold to revive Naveen but Rajnish’s escape from Ashu reduced the gap to two points.

Ruturaj stepped out of bounds in Naveen’s raid while Sandeep Kandola’s failed advanced tackle extended the lead to four points in Delhi’s favor. However, Telugu’s lone warrior Rajnish pruned the advantage to two points after dashing past two defenders and getting his hand over the mid-line. While Naveen collected a bonus, Rajnish continued with another two-point raid to trim the lead to one point.

Naveen bagged a bonus and toe-touch to keep the scoreboard ticking for Delhi but Rajnish’s kick while escaping Ashu’s dash ensured the lead got cut down to just one point again.

Last man Naveen got a touch on Surender and picked up a bonus as well. However, the highlight of the match came moments later when Jeeva trapped Rajnish on an ankle hold but the latter dragged the last two defenders alongside him with his lower body strength to enforce an ‘All Out.’ The scoreline read 33-32 in favor of the Telugu Titans at the time.

Naveen continued to pick up touchpoints on Surender to draw level once again and his bonus in the next raid put Delhi in the driver’s seat, albeit with a solitary point advantage. Rajnish tried to level things but Krishan gripped viciously on his ankle as the other Delhi defenders tackled him.

With just 30 seconds of play remaining, Naveen stepped up in a ‘Do-or-Die’ raid and the Telugu Titans played a high line of defense trying to tackle him. However, PKL 8’s ace raider walked past the baulkline with ease wasting the remainder of the play.

The Telugu Titans were given a point as Naveen didn’t pick up a touch or bonus in his raid. However, it was too little too late as Dabang Delhi won the contest 36-35.