Patna clinches thriller; mistakes cost Thalaivas again

As Patna Pirates edged UP Yoddha 43-41 in a thriller, Tamil Thalaivas’ home leg came to a disappointing end with a 27-36 loss to Bengal Warriors.

Tamil Thalaivas' Ajay Thakur's successful raid against Bengal Warriors at Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Thursday.   -  R. Ragu

Patna Pirates edged UP Yoddha 43-41 in a thriller that saw both teams at their best. It was Pardeep Narwal who picked up 16 points, taking the defending champion back to winning ways after a loss against Tamil Thalaivas in the opening game of the season.

Meanwhile, even though Rishank Devadiga became the seventh player to cross the 500-point mark in Pro Kabaddi, he ended up on the losing side.

With the first half underway, momentum swung between both ends of the court. UP Yoddha started well, but a one-man show from Pardeep Narwal brought Patna Pirates on par with its opponent, which coupled with an all-out, saw Patna take the lead.

Later, Rishank Devadiga picked up 3 points in a raid, gifting momentum to Yoddha, which raced to a 20-15 lead.

As it happened

But Pardeep made it look easy at the other end, as he brought up a super-10 to give his team a narrow lead of 21-20 at half-time.

Midway through the second half, Yoddha levelled the score at 33-33. Even though Patna tried to break away, UP Yoddha stayed close on its heels.

The match couldn’t be decided until the final moments when Shrikanth Jadhav ventured into the Pirates court for the final raid, with Patna up only by a point. The defense held its nerves, tackled Jadhav to the ground and won a tightly-fought match.

Patna Pirates coach Ram Mehar Singh praised his side’s defensive performance, which caused its downfall in the opening match of the season. “Defence is crucial. When your defense performs well, you’ll always have close matches. Even if the raider is in top form, without the defense’s support, it’s useless, because even the opponent can get the same points through raids,” he said.  

Defensive mistakes cost Thalaivas another

Tamil Thalaivas’ home leg came to a disappointing end with a 27-36 loss to Bengal Warriors, its fourth consecutive loss of the season.

Mistakes at crucial points in the match proved costly again as Thalaivas let the match slip away.

There were two instances in the first half, where the home team could have taken the upper hand. Bengal Warriors was reduced to a man twice, but Thalaivas couldn't inflict an all out on both occasions due to defensive mistakes. With the scores close at the time, an all out could have given Thalaivas momentum and the rest of the game could have assumed a different hue.

Bengal led only by 3 points (18-15) at half-time. But after getting all-out on a total of four occasions, Thalaivas found itself far behind Warriors, unable to catch up.

After impressing in four consecutive matches, a tired Ajay Thakur was unable to save Tamil Thalaivas. He scored only 6 points.

“We're going back to the same mistakes again,” said Tamil Thalaivas coach E. Bhaskaran.

“During those crucial moments, our defense is making mistakes. We're making some immature decisions in going into advanced tackles against good raiders,” he said.

Despite a poor home leg, Bhaskaran believes there will be good outcomes. “Now we've learnt where our mistakes are and we can work on it. We don't play for another five days.

“I know it was our home leg but we weren't under added pressure because of that. But I am disappointed for our fans who have turned up in huge numbers to support us.