Puneri Paltan edged past Telugu Titans 53-50 in a nail-biting Pro Kabaddi match at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula on Thursday.
Riding on points of Manjeet — highest scorer for the side with 12 points, Sushant Sail (11 points) and Sureejet Singh (7 points), Pune side poured water over Telugu Titans’ chances of making it to the playoffs with UP Yoddha securing the final spot in the top six.
Though Telugu Titans were playing for a playoff berth, it was Pune who showed more grit in a dominant first-half performance.
In the first minute, Titans’ star raider Siddharth Desai was successfully tackled by Manjeet and that set the tempo for Paltan as they picked raid points with ease. Both Vishal Bhardwaj and Abozar Mighani — left and right corners respectively — were absent in the starting seven for a much-changed Titans side and the Pune raiders, particularly Sushant Sail, exploited the lack of experience in the defence and picked up points with ease.
A dominant Pune side on the mat inflicted the first All-Out in the 6th minute of the game to move to a 7-point lead and continued their good work to secure another All-Out in the 14th minute to increase the lead to 14 points.
Titans did manage their way back through some strong raids by Siddharth Desai but two Super Tackles (by Sushant Sail and Surjeet Singh) ensured they prevented an All-Out. Surjeet clinched his High 5 as the first half ended with the scores 31-16 with Pune in the driving seat.
The second half saw Sushant Sail starting with a massive 4-point Super Raid to help Pune rush to another All-Out in the third minute.
Meanwhile, Rakesh Gowda was having an impressive game as the raider for the Titans and his four-point raid in the fourth minute of the match gave the Titans some much-needed impetus to push for an All-Out, which they secured in the 9th minute of the second half.
However, Pune continued to approach all guns blazing instead of seeing out the remainder of the time which allowed the Titans to clinch another All-Out with 6 minutes remaining to make it a 9-point game. The match became a tense affair in the closing minutes but a three-point Super Raid by Iranian Emad Sedaghatnia helped Pune open up a sizeable lead which their defenders could hold on to till the final whistle.
(With inputs from IANS)