05 August 2017
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Our first match of the Nagpur leg saw us taking on Puneri Paltan in the Mankapur Indoor Stadium. Hometown boy, Shubham Palkar was given his first start of ProKabaddi with Anand Patil starting too. Sriram was seen in the substitutes list. The Dabangs were slow to start again with Pune taking the first three points. Defence gave us the first point as Deepak Hooda was not allowed to cross the line.
Young raiders, Anand Patil and Shubham Palkar were buzzing with confidence as they gave us a few raids points. Meraj Sheykh was struggling again with the Pune defence knowing what is coming from the Iranian. Pune, on the other hand, were picking up points in their raids too. Bajirao and Nilesh were not in their best form as they struggled with their dashes and holds. Sunil, was doing his job silently at the left corner. Going into the half-time, we were four points behind with the scoreboard reading 7-11.
We started the second half positively giving away just two and scoring four points. In the 25th minute, the trio of Meraj, Sunil and Anand scored a Super Tackle, our first of the season, to level the score at 13-13. But an all-out at that moment shifted the momentum in their favour. Anand Patil had a terrific evening but unfortunately didn’t get the support. The Dabangs gave their best in the second half but mistakes in the defence cost us the game. In the end we lost by 21-26. Anand Patil was the highest scorer for us with 8 points with Sunil getting 4 points. Shubham (2 points) had a good opening game as well.
In their second match of the Nagpur leg, the Dabangs will face U Mumba. The Mumbai team who have one win and one loss in the tournament so far, are a strong team on paper. With the likes of Anup Kumar, Kashiling Adake, Shabeer Bapu in the squad, there is no lack of talent. The Dabangs are learning after every match. Young raiders of the team are grabbing the opportunities with both hands and now it is the likes of Meraj Sheykh, Nilesh Shinde and Bajirao Hodage to come to the party. If every Dabang of the squad contributes, our second victory of the season won’t be far away.