Remaining untackled till the end, a dominant show from Naveen Kumar ensured a win for Dabang Delhi over Jaipur Pink Panthers while Gujarat Fortunegiants lost a closely-contested tie to a rejuvenated Puneri Paltan outfit in the Pro Kabaddi League at the Pataliputra stadium in Patna on Monday.
Jaipur Pink Panthers lost a game for the first time this season while Puneri Paltan raced to its second consecutive game after losing its first three ties.
Dabang Delhi 35-24 Jaipur Pink Panthers
The Panthers had mauled the Patna Pirates in its own backyard a few days ago while the boys in blue had been thumped by the Gujarat Fortunegiants in Mumbai. This clash though, saw a switch in momentum.
Naveen Kumar got on the job right from the word go for Delhi, helping Delhi effect an all-out of the Panthers in the closing stages of the first 20 minutes. Incidentally, this was the first time the Panthers were collectively sent to the bench this season.
The covers just did not click for the Panthers with unnecessary errors prompting a brief mid-mat outburst from Sandheep Dhull.
Dhull himself was ordinary, not managing to get any points on the board for his team.
With Naveen spearheading the raiding department and ably supported by a tight defence, Delhi finished the first half with a six-point lead over the Panthers, the score line reading 10-16 in favour of the former.
Deepak Hooda loves the pressure of the second half and it showed as he tried to stage a comeback for the Panthers. A brilliant super raid from the man saw the point difference slowly being scaled The score line now read 18-16, the Panthers trailing by just two points.
Naveen Kumar was not going to let it go so close. He caught Sandheep Dhull out of nowhere, sending a clueless Dhull to the bench.
Chandran Ranjit soon emerged as the unlikely hero of the game. At one stage, the big screen at the Pataliputra stadium flashed his name for having taken the most tackle points at that stage of the game. A shy Ranjit smiled and awkwardly shuffled in his seat.
When on the mat, he was a different person. One of the highlights of the game was a clever six-point raid that Ranjit orchestrated, taking four touch points and two points for having effected an all-out, again.
Delhi was not all well-oiled. Saied Gaffari was an unlikely source of points for Delhi, making elementary errors and gifting points to the opposition. He was not in his element.
In the last five minutes of the game, during a Panthers raid, Ravinder Pahal managed a strong tackle on Deepak Narwal, smashing the raider to the mat. As unintentional as the force was, it was almost metaphorical for how the Panthers were kept in check by the Delhi side.
Two players walked away with super 10s, there was a six-point raid, an unbeaten team finally tasted defeat but Naveen Kumar walked away with the last laugh, 12 points to his name and a win for his team.
Gujarat Fortunegiants 31-33 Puneri Paltan
The Fortunegiants and the Paltan began the night by bagging successful tackle points.
Girish Ernak scored the first point for Pune by pinning Rohit Gulia down before More GB brought Manjeet down in Pune's first do-or-die raid.
The scores were level till 6-6 before Pune's defensive errors began to haunt them.
Gujarat made the most of the opportunity thrown into its lap and inflicted the first all-out on Pune at 12-8 to make take the score line to 15-8 and claim a seven-point lead.
However, Puneri Paltan responded with smart and authoritative Kabaddi.
The turning point of the first half arrived when Surjeet Singh tackled Sachin successfully and reduced the deficit to five points at 10-15.
Amit Kumar came to the fore of Pune's offense, ably supported by Pawan Kadian. The pressure on the Fortunegiants started rising steeply and its repeated defensive errors allowed Pune to get back into the game.
Just when Pune was about to level again, Ankit and Parvesh Bhainswal pulled off a super-tackle to give Gujarat a slender three-point lead at the end of the first half.
The start of the second half mirrored that of the first.
Ernak bagged a tackle point - Sachin Tanwar the victim this time. The remainder of the half carried this tone, with Pune keeping Tanwar quiet for the remainder of the game.
Pune's second-half hero from last night, Pankaj Mohite was subbed in and he made instant impact by forcing an error from Sunil Kumar, who was called out for jersey pulling.
Manjeet sent Parvesh Bhainswal to the bench and Pune inflicted the first all-out on the Fortunegiants.
The Paltan gained the lead for the first time in the match and didn't let go thereafter.
Sumit stepped out-of-bounds while defending and things went from bad to worse for the Fortunegiants, with its defenders putting in reckless tackles out of sheer desperation.
Pawan Kadian and Amit Kumar kept the scoreboard ticking and on the other side of the mat, Ernak raced to a High 5.
With a slender two-point keeping Pune ahead, Manjeet negotiated the final 21 seconds with ease to take his side over the line. At the end of the tie, it was the team that committed fewer errors that managed to flesh out a win.
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