Pirates and Panthers to fight it out for the crown

Patna Pirates survived a scare from a spirited Puneri Paltan to post a 37-33 win. In the second semifinal, first edition champion Jaipur Pink Panthers scored a more convincing 34-24 win over crowd favourite Telugu Titans to set up the title clash on Sunday.

The Iranian duo of Fazel Atrachali and Hadi Oshtorak were outstanding in defence for the defending champion.   -  AP

Defending champion Patna Pirates survived a scare from a spirited Puneri Paltan to post a 37-33 win in the men’s semifinals of the STAR Sports-ProKabaddi League Season-4 here on Friday.

In the second semifinal, first edition champion Jaipur Pink Panthers scored a more convincing 34-24 win over crowd favourite Telugu Titans to set up the title clash on Sunday.

Match Centre: >Patna Pirates v Puneri Paltan;

> Jaipur Pink Panthers v Telugu Titans

In a see-saw battle which saw the scores tied quite frequently in the first 10 minutes of the match, Pirates managed to lead by a slender margin of 16-13 at the break primarily due to the spirited display in defence by the Iranian duo of Fazel Atrachali and Hadi Oshtorak.

Fightback

After the break, it looked like Paltan was about to make amends. With Deepak Hooda and Manjeet Chillar on a roll, Paltan not only levelled the scores at 17 but also went on to take a 27-23 lead.

Then, it was the turn of Pirates to raise the bar led by Pardeep Narwal and Rajesh Mondal.

Just when it looked as if Paltan would stage another fightback, it was done in by Pardeep and Rajesh who saw the team scoring its first all-out and picking up three points to fetch a vital 35-32 lead with less than two minutes to go for the final whistle.

Defence lets Titans down

In the second semifinal, Titans paid a heavy price for a poor show by its defence.

“We lost the match because of defensive mistakes. Though we stuck to our gameplan, we made too many mistakes in the second session. It is terribly disappointing,” rued a dejected captain Rahul Chaudhari.

Panthers captain Jasvir Singh said they were confident of a win though not of the margin. “We are a much superior side,” he insisted.

It was obvious that Panthers owed their success to Jasvir who spent a lot of time in the rival court and also picked up points. And, he was adjudged best raider and his teammate Amit Hooda best defender.

The results:

Semifinals: Patna Pirates bt Puneri Paltan 37-33; Jaipur Pink Panthers bt Telugu Titans 34-24.