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Pro Kabaddi: Patna Pirates enter last four with 33-31 win over Bengaluru Bulls

Sandeep Narwal's wonder raid which snatched the match away from the Bengaluru Bulls and took Patna Pirates into the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 25, 2014.
Sandeep Narwal's wonder raid which snatched the match away from the Bengaluru Bulls and took Patna Pirates into the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League in Bangalore on August 25, 2014.
Sandeep Narwal was the hero as Patna Pirates qualified for the semi-finals of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League by beating Bengaluru Bulls 33-31 in front of their home crowd in a thrilling encounter here tonight.
 
Bengaluru Bills will now take on the Telugu Titans in tomorrow's game and both teams need nothing less than a victory to book their tickets to Mumbai for the play-offs.
 
The match was a keenly fought affair, especially in the first 35 minutes of play. The tone was set when, right at the start, a lightning raid from Ajay Thakur gave the edge to Bengaluru, taking out Ravi Dalal.
 
Narwal led the counterstrike, pulling himself out of the Bulls' grip. Ajay Thakur was not so lucky, and found himself sandwiched in between the full weight of Pirate defensive power. Trading blows, keeping the scores orbiting around dead equal, the two teams gave it everything they had. 
 
A masterful raid by Bengaluru left the Pirates with only Mandeep Kumar, who made his team proud by scoring a 2 touch do-or-die raid, giving Patna 3 points and 2 additional players.
 
Together, they were able to bring down Ajay in his following raid. But the Bulls’ assault was relentless, and the Patna Pirates were once again reduced to Mandeep. His second do-or-die ended in failure, giving Bengaluru an all-out at the 15th minute. This victory brought the Bulls the confidence they needed to briefly surge ahead, and with multiple A-grade raids and a halting tackle of Narwal brought the halftime score to 18 – 13.
 
The beginning of the second half witnessed a similar pace to the beginning of the first. The Pirates, despite two whisker-close raids from Ravi and an artful wraparound tackle of Thakur, were unable to close the gap. But a 2 touch raid from Dalal changed everything. 
 
Narwal took this as a challenge to his raiding excellence, and followed this with an absolutely astounding 3 touch raid that brought the Pirates ahead with a score of 26 – 25.
 
It took only another minute to bring Bengaluru down to their skipper, and Manjit’s raid was met with the same vicious kabaddi competency, giving Patna Pirates their first all out. It was all they would need. The final two minutes would yield no fruit for the Bulls, and as Narwal ran out the clock in the last 30 seconds, the Bengaluru team saw the writing on the wall. 
 
Finishing his raid with a somewhat ostentatious but absolutely warranted cartwheel (perhaps a tribute to his incapacitated captain), Narwal won the match, and secured Patna a place in Mumbai.
 
It will now be a fight for the fourth spot in the semi-finals between the Titans and the Bulls tomorrow.
 
NNN
 
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