PKL 2019: Puneri Paltan ties with U Mumba after see-saw battle

Abhishek Singh clinched a Super 10 for U Mumba, which recovered from a six-point deficit to earn a tie against Puneri Paltan.

Abhishek Singh's raid points in the latter stages of the match helped U Mumba tie with Puneri Paltan.   -  K. Murali Kumar

U Mumba and Puneri Paltan shared the points after their Prokabaddi League match ended in a tense 33-33 draw at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Thursday.

Abhishek Singh clinched a Super 10 (11 raid points) for U Mumba as it clawed its back from being six points down in the final five minutes to secure a crucial draw.

The match got off to a slow start with both sets of raiders cautious of the strong defences they were up against.

Nitin Tomar was bullied off the mat in his first raid of the match and that set the tone for the first half with both sets of defences performing admirable tackles.

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Sandeep Narwal was in his ‘beast mode’ for U Mumba, while Pune’s Manjeet showed his versatility as an All-Rounder, pulling off impressive Super Tackles.

But Mumbai’s raiders were slightly better on the mat and Season Two champion inflicted the first All-Out of the match in the 10th minute to open up a six-point lead.

Pune didn’t lose their cool after the All-Out though and ensured they stayed in the game for the remainder of the first half. Mumbai led Pune 16-12 at half-time.

Pune, coached by former U Mumba star Anup Kumar, kept doing their work cleverly in the second half, and a smart move by young raider Pankaj Mohite -- jumping into the lobby when he saw the defenders rushing at him -- fetched his side three points and pushed the Mumbai team towards an All-Out.

Pune clinched the All-Out within five minutes after the restart to level the points at 20-20.

With Nitin Tomar out injured, the raiding duties had fallen heavily on Manjeet’s shoulder but the all-rounder was more than up to the challenge.

His three-point raid in the 10th minute meant U Mumba had to face another battle to prevent an All-Out -- one which it failed with five minutes remaining to hand over a six-point lead to Pune.

But some clever raiding by Abhishek Singh, and a few miscalculated moves by Pune’s defenders, allowed the Mumbai side to make a comeback and level the points in the penultimate move of the match.

Hadi Tajik held his ground in the final raid to see out a draw.