Ajinkya Pawar’s stretch, turn, leap away to safety, touching two rivals in his range, produced a thrilling moment for fans as Jaipur Pink Panthers put up a composed and controlled show in a Pro Kabaddi League season 7 fixture.
Teammate and ace raider Deepak Hooda (14 points from 23 raids) laid the stage for a commanding 37-21 victory over Haryana Steelers, supported by defenders Sandeep Dhull (six tackle points), Vishal Mane (four tackle points).
As it happened| Jaipur Pink Panthers sweeps past Haryana Steelers, UP Yoddha overcomes U Mumba
Panthers defence got into action early into the match, left corner Sandeep Dhull quelled Naveen. Steelers right corner defender Sunil displayed sharp instincts facing Deepak Hooda, keeping away from his range and dipping under to grab the reputed raider’s ankle.
Raiders opted for caution, seeing the catchers early form. Hooda got a toe touch down the middle for Panthers, though Naveen could not escape an ankle hold by Dhull on a do-or-die raid and found himself shoved out of the arena. Sachin Narwal’s acrobatic leap over catchers did not work on another do-or-die raid.
Steelers' attempt to pull level with its rival fell sideways after Hooda sent out rival captain Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Vikas Kale in one raid. The Panthers ace appeared to have been trapped near the centreline, but review supported the umpire's decision about the raider touching the line before getting pulled back into the Steelers half.
The five points cushion at the break earned by Panthers, was further boosted by an all-out on Steelers, which took the lead to 17-8. Down to four players at one stage, Sunil displayed the grit to force out raider Sachin Narwal on the sidelines on his own.
Naveen chipped in as well, a flying kick connecting with Dhull at left corner, but the match was firmly in Panthers grasp. Steelers suffered a second all-out and hard work by Vinay and Sunil (six points each) went in vain. Prashant Kumar Rai was a notable absence.
Yoddha trumps Mumba
In the second match of the day, U Mumba suffered a 23 -27 loss to U P Yoddha, with Monu Goyat (6 points) and Sumit (6 points) starring for the side from the north.
The match went down the wire and UP Yoddha held its nerves in the dying minutes of the game to come out triumphant.
The result : Jaipur Pink Panthers 37 (Deepak Hooda 14, Sandeep Dhull 6) bt Haryana Steelers 21 (Vinay 6, Sunil 6). UP Yoddha 27 (Monu Goyat 6, Sumit 6) bt U Mumba 23 (Rohit Baliyan 6, Surinder Singh 4).
Thursday match: Gujarat Fortunegiants v Dabang Delhi.