After refusing to play dead, and pulling out a couple of hard-fought victories to book their place in the semifinals, the Bengaluru Bulls will not want that anti-climatic feeling to take over when they face U Mumba in the semifinals of the Pro Kabaddi League.
Having worked so hard to book their place in the semis, the Bulls will be desperate to keep their good run going with a victory over U Mumba and a place in the epic final on Sunday.
However, in U Mumba, they will not only be up against the side which finished second in the points table, after leading the standings in the early part of the season, but also the Mumbai crowd, who will be baying for some Bulls blood.
The Bengaluru Bulls find themselves in this position thanks to last-gasp victories in their last two matches of the league phase, played in front of their own fans in Bangalore. The Bulls, first, got the better of the Telugu Titans 27-26 on Tuesday, before trumping leaders Jaipur Pink Panthers 30-29 to not only book their place in the top four, but also sneak above the Patna Pirates into third place.
However, having avoided playing the marauding Pink Panthers in the semis – even if they beat them in the final match of the league phase -- the Bengaluru Bulls have been handed an equally tough, if not more difficult, encounter in the shape of U Mumba, who will be raring to go in front of their home fans.
Skipper Anup Kumar will again expected to be the main man for U Mumba, who have struggled with injuries during the tournament, while the Bulls will look to their own skipper Manjit Chillar.
Kumar has so far picked up a massive 139 raid points in this tournament and lies second in the standings behind Rahul Chaudhari of the Telugu Titans. Stopping Kumar will be the biggest key for the Bulls, who will look to Chillar and Darmaraj Cheralathan to do just that.
The teams split the two league contests, with U Mumba winning the first one 45-34, while the Bulls got the better of their opponents 33-30 in the second. So, both teams have tasted victories against the other, and much will depend on which side comes out firing early, because an early lead in such a momentous match might just be the difference between slugging it out in the final or playing that nobody-wants-it third-place playoff.
Where to Watch Live
The second semifinal is scheduled to begin at 9.10 pm IST, right after the first semi between Jaipur Pink Panthers and Patna Pirates. The match will be shown live on the Star Sports network and Star Gold. Viewers can also watch the knockout clash by live streaming online HERE.