Kolkata: Iranian pro kabaddi league raider Meraj Sheykh ran amok in Bengaluru forte to lift the Zone ‘A’ laggards Dabang Delhi KC to a morale-boosting 38-30 win over Bengaluru Bulls in the Inter-Zone Challenge match at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
The second match saw U Mumba riding on captain Anup Kumar’s brilliance to beat home team Bengal Warriors 37-31 that helped the Zone ‘A’ team to move up to No 2 position.
As the second of the four Inter-Zone Challenge Weeks of the season began here on Tuesday, fierce action was always on the cards. Delhi had to make the push, now of never, and their captain Meraj made all the difference to the way match progressed.
It made no difference that his team was 12-18 down at half-time as Meraj roamed on the Bengaluru mat like it belonged to him. Any attempts to catch him backfired—once he sent packing two remaining Bengaluru defenders as he effected an ‘All Out’.
There was more to come with Meraj showing no signs of fatigue with continuous raids with fellow Iranian Abolfazl Maghsodlou playing the sheet anchor role despite getting cramps midway through the match.
“Our plan was to go all out. Otherwise it would have been now or never. Meraj was the central character to our strategy and all the other players backed it to the hilt,” said Delhi coach Ramesh Bhendigiri.
Meraj was modest when he said he just followed what his coach has planned. “I just wanted to help the team to score a win. It had been a long time and that we were at the bottom of the table in Zone ‘A’ was playing over in my mind,” said Meraj.
On changing ends, Delhi’s fortunes also took a different route with Meraj leading the way. He attempted 21 raids and earned 14 points with an amazing record of being caught just once. In the second half he was ruthless as Meraj literally toyed with the Bengaluru defence. The absence of Ravinder Pahal cost Bengaluru dearly as defence-line was laid bare allowing Delhi to eke out the win.