A collective performance from table-topper Patna Pirates helped it beat Telugu Titans 38-30. Raider Sachin scored a Super 10 (14 points) and defender Mohammadreza Shadloui secured a High 5 (5 tackle points) as Patna once again showed why they are on top of the points table with a victory that helped them guarantee a top-two finish in the league stage.
Bottom-placed Telugu Titans was playing the match for pride having already been ruled out of the playoffs race. It once again showed glimpses of its potential but failed to control the match in the dying stages. The eight-point margin of the defeat meant it walked away with no points from the encounter.
Patna Pirates started on the front foot with its raiding duo of Guman Singh and Sachin finding errors in the Telugu defence. The Pirates rushed to an early lead and closed in on an All Out. A Super Tackle on Mohammadreza Shadloui (for not crossing the Baulk Line) delayed it but Patna eventually removed all the Titans on the mat in the seventh minute to open a seven-point lead.
The Titans had no intention to be easy pushovers however and initiated an immediate fightback.Rajnish, with a heavily strapped knee, found mistakes in the Patna defence to slowly push his team closer to the Pirates. His three-point Super Raid in the 17th minute gave the Titans an opportunity to inflict an All Out on the table-toppers. Adarsh T then clinched a two-point raid to get the All Out and open a one-point lead. Patna soon got back into the lead through Sachin and brought in the experienced Monu Goyat as a substitute to sharpen their attack. The score was 21-20 in favour of the Pirates at halftime.
Sachin clinched his Super 10 in the second minute after half time but the Titans continued to match the Pirates blow for blow. Their defence ensured there were no easy points up for Pirates’ raiders.Ankit Beniwal also started supporting Rajnish in the raids as they moved to a one-point lead. The score was 27-26 with 10 minutes remaining.
The depth of Patna’s squad meant they kept finding answers to all the challenges being thrown at them by the Titans. In the five minutes that followed the first Time Out, Patna outscored the Titans by three points to once again take the lead. The momentum shift proved decisive as the Pirates inflicted an All Out with three minutes remaining to open a seven-point lead. Rajnish got his Super 10 for the Titans but that mattered little as the Pirates went on to clinch an important win.
- UP Yoddha thrashes Dabang Delhi to go third -
Pardeep Narwal was once again the hero for UP Yoddha as it beat Dabang Delhi K.C. 44-28. The “record breaker” scored a Super 10 (14 points) as UP controlled the match from the beginning to the end. The win helped Yoddha climb to third on the table with a match remaining in their league stage. They are now firm favourites for a slot in the playoff stages. Delhi missed out on an opportunity to go closer to a top two finish with the loss. It will also be sweating about Naveen Kumar’s fitness after the star raider picked up an injury in the first half.
The first half was a cagey affair with Delhi and UP matching fire with fire. Pardeep Narwal tried his level best to give his UP team a lead only for the Delhi defenders to pounce on him. Delhi raider Naveen Kumar suffered the same fate at the other end of the match. At the end of the first 10 minutes, the score was tied at 7-7. And that continued to be the case at the end of the 16th minute with the scores again level at 10-10. The balance finally shifted when a surprising review from Delhi exposed that 3 of their defenders had followed Pardeep Narwal into the lobby without a touch. UP used that momentum to push for an All Out and got it with the last move of the first half. The score was 18-12 at the interval with UP in the lead.
Naveen Kumar was substituted for Manjeet in the second half presumably due to an injury. The substitute was impressive with his raids as Delhi pressed hard to level the scores. But their experienced defence kept leaking unnecessary points to the likes of Surender Gill and Pardeep Narwal. The team from UP had a seven-point advantage after the first 10 minutes of the second half.
The match continued to remain a low-scoring encounter with very few multi-point raids. Pardeep Narwal clinched his Super 10 as Yoddha got their second All Out with eight minutes remaining. That opened a 10-point lead and the UP raiders slowed the speed of their raids to kill time.
With Naveen in bench, Delhi lacked the raiding prowess to challenge UP Yoddha. Pardeep Narwal’s raids helped the team open a massive 15-point lead with three minutes remaining. They got another All Out with two minutes remaining to seal an important win in their race for a playoff spot.
- Gujarat Giants vs Puneri Paltan finishes in a thrilling 31-31 tie -
Final match of the evening between Gujarat Giants and Puneri Paltan went right down to the last raid where a mistake from Pune raider Aslam Inamdar allowed Giants' Ajay Kumar to get a touch point which helped his side tie the game at 31-31.
Both teams got three points each which keep Giants at sixth and Paltan at seventh on the points table.
It was a tightly contested match right from the beginning and at half-time, the Giants had a slender five-point lead with the score 21-16. However, the Paltan foughtback to reduce the deficit to three points as only eight points were scored in the next 10 minutes.
Going into the final quarter, Paltan maintained the pressure on Giants and eventually inflicted the All Out to lead by 27-25. A self-out for Aslam while raiding and a touch point for Ajay Kumar off Abinesh made it 27-27 with five minutes left on the clock.
From there on, both teams tried to slow down the game and leave no scope for errors. Mohit Goyat completed his Super 10 and Rakesh S got the benefit of a strange back hold attempted by Vishal Bharadwaj in consecutive raids to make it 28-28. Girish Ernak's reckless attempt to tackle Aslam well ahead of the baulk line gave Paltan a one-point lead but it did not stay for long. Rakesh S got a touch point off Mohit Goyat, who went for the ankle hold, and then made it past Abinesh Nadarajan's dash to put Giants ahead at 30-29.
Aslam Inamdar then got a touch point on a platter as Hadi Oshtorak lost his balance at the right corner and in the following raid, Vishal brought down Rakesh with a strong ankle hold to again put Paltan ahead at 31-30 with eighty one seconds remaining.
Ajay Kumar's penultimate raid had him complete the raid in nine seconds thinking he had levelled the score with a bonus but the officials didn't award him one. The replay showed that Ajay Kumar might have had a good case but since the Giants had already lost their review, they could not challenge the call.
Nevertheless, Ajay got his moment as an error from Aslam in defence in Ajay's final raid meant the match finished in a dramatic 31-31 tie.