PKL: Telugu Titans register nervy win over Jaipur

Telugu Titans held their collective nerves when points slipped away, before a rousing team effort, with Iranian Meraj Sheykh playing the starring role, resulted in a come-from-behind 27-25 victory over former champion Jaipur Pink Panthers in a nail-biting Pro Kabaddi League 2016 match, at the Balewadi stadium, here on Saturday.

Despite Jaipur's catchers helping their team race to a 23-18, Telugu Titans made a strong comeback to clinch victory.   -  K_R_DEEPAK (File photo)

Telugu Titans held their collective nerves when points slipped away, before a rousing team effort, with Iranian Meraj Sheykh playing the starring role, resulted in a come-from-behind 27-25 victory over former champion Jaipur Pink Panthers in a nail-biting Pro Kabaddi League 2016 match, at the Balewadi stadium, here on Saturday.

Sheykh got the crowd on their feet with an all-round showing, top-scoring for the winners with 11 points (seven raid and four tackle). Vikas Kale won three tackle points, plus three raid points from Prashant Rai. Jaipur’s key player was Sonu Narwal (five raid points), who was ably supported by Mohammad Maghsoudlou (five raid points).

Jaipur went into the face-off against a Titans side recovering from the tie against Puneri Paltans. Prior to the fixture, Telugu Titans won only three out of six games.

Titans went into the match without key raiders Rahul Chaudhari, Sukesh Hegde. The responsibility for carrying his team along was shouldered by experienced catcher Cheralathan. Rohit Rana’s absence meant Jaipur banked on Narwals Sonu and Rajesh. While Jaipur’s forte continued to be tackling, Titans catchers worked in tandem.

Jaipur raider Sonu and Iranian Mohammad Maghsoudlou earned early points, sneaking ahead 12-9 at the break. Navneet Gautam was absent from the starting seven for the men in pink, as was vice-captain Jasvir Singh.

Rajesh Narwal started shaking up the rival defence with a series of raids. Sonu tired his hand in pressuring the rivals but the Titans were determined to catch up. At one point, while trailing by two points at 14-16, a sensational raid by Meraj Sheykh saw the Iranian slipping through a host of pink shirts. Jaipur asked for a review but lost the point.

Tables turned

Sonu Narwal displayed his mastery in the rival zone as Jaipur went ahead 21-16. As the seconds ticked away towards the finish, a Super Tackle by Titans starring Meraj brought down dangerman Sonu. Jaipur catchers trapped a rival to race ahead to 23-18. However, the Titans made a late comeback to win the game.

Scores: Telugu Titans 27 (Meraj Sheykh 11 pts (seven rp & 4 tp), Vikash Kale 3 tp, Prashant Rai 3 rp) bt Jaipur Pink Panthers 25 (Sonu Narwal 5 rp, Rajesh Narwal 3 rp & 1tp).