Mumbai Maharathi pulled off a superb comeback to beat Delhi Sultans 4-3 and enter the semi-finals of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on Friday.
Trailing 1-3 at one stage, Mumbai fought back to register their third win. They thus ended their campaign in the league stage with six points from five matches.
Delhi crashed out of contention, having lost all the four matches they have played so far.
Mumbai have become the second team after Jaipur Ninjas to enter the semi-finals of this year’s PWL.
Delhi captain Sakshi Malik won the toss and decided to block the men’s 57kg category. Mumbai skipper Erica Wiebe, on the other hand, decided to put the women’s 53kg event out of the tie.
Georgian star David Tlashadze gifted Delhi a positive start with a 6-2 win over Mumbai’s promising youngster Pritam in the men’s 70kg division.
The Georgian used his superior technique and experience to good effect to hold off a strong challenge from the Indian youngster.
Pritam, who is new to the senior level, displayed good physical strength and caused problems for his much-fancied opponent on a few occasions, but he lacked the techical finesse to cause any real damage.
Tlashadze -- a medallist at last year’s European Championships -- established his domination in the first round by opening up a 5-0 lead. Pritam tried hard to stage a comeback in the second round with repeated attacks, but Tlashadze’s superior stood him in good stead.
Pritam was close to scoring a point in the fifth minute when he almost managed to pull off a pushout, but Tlashadze turned the situation around to score his sixth point.
The 2016 Junior Asian Championship silver medallist finally opened his account in the final minute with a takedown but it was the most he would eventually manage.
Azerbaijan star Mariya Stadnik doubled the hosts’ lead by defeating Carolina Castillo Hidalgo by fall in the women’s 48kg category.
Leading 5-0 in the opening round, the former European champion pinned her Columbian opponent to clinch victory.
Jabrayil Hasanov registered the first win of the evening for Mumbai by outclassing Delhi’s Praveen Rana 7-0 in the men’s 70kg bout.
The Rio Olympics bronze medallist scored his first four points via pushouts before pulling off the first takedown of the bout in the fourth minute.
Pushed onto the backfoot, Rana conceded another point when the passivity rule was applied against him as Hasanov maintained his unbeaten record in this year’s PWL.
Sakshi increased Delhi’s advantage with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Mumbai’s Sarita in the women’s 58kg category.
Sakshi led 1-0 at the break after the passivity rule was invoked against Sarita.
The boot was on the other foot in the second round when the Olympic bronze medallist was penalised for being too defensive.
With one and a half minutes left in the bout, it seemed that Sarita will pull off an upset. But the Mumbai grappler conceded another passivity point before Sakshi pulled off a takedown with 30 seconds to go.
However, Vikas started Mumbai’s comeback by defeating Surjeet Grewal by fall in the men’s 65kg division.
Leading 4-0 at the break, Vikas produced an eight-point burst with a couple of rollovers and the fitlay move.
With his back to the wall, Surjeet almost pinned Vikas in the final minute of the bout but the Mumbai wrestler pulled off a successful counter-attack to win the contest by fall.
Erica then pulled Mumbai back to level terms with a 3-0 victory over Alina Makhynia in the women’s 75kg bout.
With the tie locked at 3-3 it all boiled down to the men’s 97kg bout between Mumbai’s Ukrainian star Pavlo Oliynik and Satyawart Kadian of Delhi.
Oliynik, a former European champion, proved far too superior to his opponent, registering a comfortable 8-3 win to take Mumbai into the last four stage.