The 5-2 semifinal win against Bengaluru was Mumbai’s sixth in as many matches and they go into Sunday’s title clash as the sole unbeaten side in the six-team league.
The second semifinal will be played between Punjab Royals and Haryana Hammers at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here tomorrow.
It was Mumbai all the way in the first semifinal. Odikadze Elizbar outwitted Pavlo Oliynik 7-2 in the opening bout played in the men’s 97kg class. Odikadze led 3-2 after the first round and ran away with the contest in the second, giving Mumbai the early advantage.
The next bout was in the women’s 48kg category between Ritu Phogat and Alyssa Lampe, the 2013 World Championship bronze medallist from USA. Ritu had got the better of Alyssa earlier in the competition.
The American had a 4-1 advantage going into the break before Ritu staged a dramatic turnaround, very much like their last encounter, to make it 8-4 and eventually win the battle 10-4 on technical superiority.
“I spoke to the coach after trailing 0-4 in the first round. He told me to tire her (Alyssa) out and it worked,” said Ritu shortly after her exciting comeback.
With a 2-0 lead in the semifinal, Mumbai were well on their way to maintain their unbeaten run in the tournament. In the men’s 125kg, Giorgi Sakandelidze of Georgia was up against compatriot Modzmanashvili Davit. Davit did well to hold his formidable opponent to 2-2 by the break. The more experienced Giorgi changed his tactics in the second round to eventually post a convincing 7-4 win, increasing Mumbai’s lead to 3-0.
The next bout saw Odunayo Adekuoroye take on Lalita Sherawat in the women’s 53kg class. Odunayo, who came into the contest unbeaten, lived up to her reputation and finished the bout 10-0 on technical superiority. The emphatic win made 4-0 for Mumbai, enough to send them into the final. The remaining three bouts were now dead rubbers with Bengaluru left to play for pride. Their icon player Narisingh Yadav gave them something to cheer about by winning the men’s 74kg bout against Pradeep 7-0.
It was the turn of Mumbai’s icon player Adeline Gray to pile on Bengaluru’s misery. The American was leading 6-0 against Navjot Kaur by 45 seconds and went on to win the women’s 69kg bout 10-0.
In the seventh and final bout, Bengaluru’s Bajrang Punia earned a consolation 10-4 win over Mumbai’s Amit Dhankar in the men’s 65kg.