Naveen Kumar was the star for home side Dabang Delhi K.C. once again as they beat Patna Pirates 38-35 in front of a jubilant crowd at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex here on Friday.
The 19-year-old raider entered the history books when he became the first raider in Pro Kabaddi history to secure nine consecutive Super 10s (awarded to players with 10 raid points or more) as Delhi finished their home leg with a 100 percent win record (four wins in four matches) and consolidated their position on top of the table.
Delhi started with a bang as Naveen 'Express' Kumar got them to flying start. Patna hardly got time to settle into the match as the home side inflicted an All-Out on them in less than four minutes into the match - the fastest this season.
Delhi were playing with the swagger of a side full of confidence as was evident from the confident ankle-hold by 'Hawk' Ravinder Pahal on Pardeep Narwal immediately after the All-Out.
The Delhi side continued to dominate and forced another All-Out on a hapless Patna side in the 12th minute to pull 18-7 clear. The first half also Naveen Kumar break his opponent Narwal's record of 8 consecutive Super 10s. But the Patna raider was in no mood to give up without a fight and he inspired a late resurgence in the dying minutes of the half to inflict an All-Out on Delhi with under three minutes remaining to half time.
The half ended with scores 26-17 in favour of Delhi.
Both teams opted for a cautious approach after the restart. Patna's Narwal looked in good form as he rushed to nine raid points in the initial minutes but the team's lack of raiding support proved to be crucial as the star raider spent most of his time in the dugout waiting to be revived.
A superb solo performance in the closing stages of the match by Narwal, inflicting another All-Out on Delhi in the process, made it a tantalisingly close affair in the final minutes. But a smart raid by Naveen Kumar, who set another record in the night by becoming the fastest player to reach 300 Pro Kabaddi points (33 matches), saved Delhi the blushes.
Patna, currently at the bottom of the table, will take positives from the match despite succumbing to a loss as the Kabaddi bandwagon moves to Bengaluru.