U Mumba beat Tamil Thalaivas 35-33 on Day 7 in Pro Kabaddi League Season 8's Rivalry Week. Thalaivas fought valiantly after a dismal first half to make it a close affair in the final minutes. But Mumbai's captain Fazel Atrachali marshalled his defence well to ensure they walked away with all 5 points in the race for a Playoff spot. Abhishek Singh scored 10 points for Mumbai while defenders Rinku, Fazel Atrachali and Rahul Sethpal had 3 points each. Thalaivas raiders Manjeet and Ajinkya Pawar had 7 points each.
The first half was completely dominated by U Mumba with their raiders Abhishek Singh and Ajith Kumar finding east points from a disjointed Tamil defence. Abhishek's hand touches gave Mumbai an early lead, but Sagar's Super Tackle helped Thalaivas stay in the match. But Ajith Kumar, playing against his former team, donned the secondary raider role to perfection and ensured Mumbai got their first ALL OUT in the 9th minute to open a 6-point lead. The raiders continued their good work while the defenders also stepped for U Mumba.
Rahul Sethpal was an important cog in that defence. Their corners Fazel Atrachali and Rinku were also nearly flawless. Thalaivas' raiders Manjeet and Ajinkya Pawar had no luck against a well-oiled Mumbai defence.
Abhishek Singh's heroic 3-point Super Raid paved way for another ALL OUT with 4 minutes remaining for the interval. Thalaivas had no control in the first – perhaps best summed by captain Surjeet's bizarre decision to go in for a raid and not cross the touch line thereby making it an illegal raid. The scores were 26-11 at the interval with Mumbai clearly on top.
The 15-point gap didn't dampen the spirits of the Tamil team as they started the second half on the front foot. A combination Super Tackle on Abhishek Singh followed by a 2-point raid by Manjeet changed the direction of the wind. Ajinkya Pawar then got a 2-point raid (+2 for ALL OUT) to complete the clean-up act and further reduce Mumbai's lead. Thalaivas continued to push hard as they smelled the possibility of taking the lead. Ajinkya Pawar's 2-point raid in the 15th minute made it a 4-point game and gave Thalaivas the chance to inflict another ALL OUT.
But Mumbai's Fazel Atrachali and Harendra Kumar clinched 2 successful tackles to take the match away from Thalaivas' grasp. U Mumba will breathe a huge sigh of relief after almost squandering a 15-point lead. The win will also help the Season 2 champions improve their chances of a playoff spot.