MOHALI, OCT 4 : Royal Kings USA scored a major upset as they edged out Lahore Lions 60-58 in a cliff-hanger in the Wave World Kabaddi League here on Saturday nigh.
This was only the second win in 11 matches for Royal Kings and the third loss for Lahore Lions, who looked short on match practice. The result kept Lahore Lions in tied third place with California Eagles, United Singhs and Vancouver Lions. Royals Kings USA stay at the bottom, but move their points tally from two to four.
The last time Royals scored a win was back in August in the first week of the Wave WKL, but they finally struck form and held their nerve in the closing stages of the tense match.
Even though the top raider of the match, as well as the Man of the Match was Akmal Shazad Dogar (23 raids) was from Lahore as well as the Best stopper, Mohsin Wahla (seven stops), a better team effort from Royal Kings USA carried the day for them.
They opened a handy 15-13 lead in the first quarter, only to see Lahore Lions strike back in the second to forge ahead at 29-28. But it was the third quarter that was to prove decisive as Royals helped by their stronger defence thwarted Lahore Lions raids and turned their one-point deficit into a two-point lead at 45-43. Despite the best efforts of Lahore Lions, who surged well in the final session the gap could not be bridged and Royals scraped through winners by two points at 60-58.
Ultimately it was the two extra successful raids by Royals, which decided the course of the match.
Royal Kings USA won the toss and went on the first raid which was successful. Through the first quarter, the raiders had the better of stoppers, as Royals succeeded in 13 of their 14 raids and managed to score better with stops as their thwarted three of Lahore Lions raids. That resulted in a narrow two-point lead for the Royals.
Into the second session, the stoppers had a better success rate than the first session and it was more so for the Lahore Lions, who stopped no less than seven of Royals’ raids and in comparison, Royals managed to stop only three of Lahore raids. Four of those stops came from Mohsin Naseer Wahla, while Lala Saifullhah had two. For Royals, Yadwinder fought well with two stops.
Akmal Dogar of Lahore Lions made 10 successful raids while Balwant Singh and Gurlal Singh of Royal Kings USA were the star raiders for their team with five and six successful raids respectively. Lahore moved slightly ahead at 29-28.
The third session was again a very close one with Royals transforming the deficit into a slender two-point edge. Yadwinder’s two stops alongside Harkirat and Balwant Singh’s one stop each tilted the balance in Royals’ favour, as Wahla alone managed a stop for Lahore.
The final session was again a tight one with the match hanging in balance, but Royals managed to hang in there with a two-point lead to score a superb win.
Man of the Match & Best Raider: Akmal Shazad Dogar of Lahore Lions ( 23 raids) Best Stopper: Mohsin Wahla of Lahore Lions(7 stops) Sonalika Power Raider of the day: Gurlal Singh of Royal Kings USA.