A spirited comeback in the second half and a determined Rahul Chaudhari handed Tamil Thalaivas a win in its tie against the Haryana Steelers while Puneri Paltan, with Pankaj Mohite at the fore, registered its first win of the season with an emphatic victory over home side Patna Pirates in the ProKabaddi League at the Pataliputra Stadium in Patna on Sunday.
PKL Day 14: As it happened
Tamil Thalaivas 35-28 Haryana Steelers
This loss will particularly hurt the Haryana Steelers, considering the fact that it had a 10-point lead over the Tamil Thalaivas at one point in the game.
But, Rahul Chaudhari decided to take matters into his own hands, taking the Thalaivas through comfortably with a remarkable second-half performance.
The teams entered this tie with a unique statistic - all three games these two teams have played against each other in PKL history before this game had ended in a tie. The Thalaivas will now walk away with a strike to its name.
While the crowds chanted Rahul Chaudhari's name all through the opening minutes of the tie, it was a slow start for the Thalaivas, with the score line reading 4-1 in favour of the Steelers at the end of the fourth minute. The Thalaivas looked scattered and anxious as they made avoidable errors, gifting points to the Steelers.
Haryana cruised through the first half riding on Vikash Kandola's shoulders. Making a comeback into the side in this game, Kandola effortlessly amassed points for the Steelers with the defence keeping the opponent's raiders in check.
The Thalaiva raiders were awfully quiet. Avoidable errors from Ajay Thakur helped the opponent pile on the misery.
Kandola starred in one of the standout moments of the first half when he effortlessly charged past Mohit Chhillar and Rahul Chaudhari effecting an all-out in the 10th minute of the game. It was a smart move from Kandola to lure the duo. A push to Mohit Chhillar and a touch on Manjeet no koke, but the Haryanvi raider made it look all too easy.
At half time, both teams knew what their agenda was - Haryana needed to maintain that lead while the Thalaivas needed a strategy to strike back. And strike back they did, courtesy Rahul Chaudhari. From being down by 10 points, the score line now read 22-19.
Chaudhari soon got to his Super 10, his second of the season with the scores now tied at 24-all. Haryana was also down to two men. Ajay Thakur made up for the first innings stutters with a two-point raid on the Steelers, taking out Sunil and Cheralathan. The score line slowly changing - 13-20.
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Soon enough, Chaudhari got to a super 10, finishing this game with 14 points in total. Of these, 13 were raid points while the one left was a tackle point. After unsuccessfully tackling through the game, Chaudhari was given clear intentions to stay low but came up with a smart ankle old in the dying minutes of the game to hand the Thalaivas a point and ultimately the match.
The Tamil Thalaivas will next meet the UP Yoddha on August 7 while Dharmaraj Cheralathan's men will want some fresh perspective heading into its tie against the Patna Pirates on the same day.
Puneri Paltan 41-20 Patna Pirates
Puneri Paltan stunned Patna Pirates at home, completing a 21-point trouncing of the hosts to register its first win of the season.
Trailing 1-10 in the head-to-count against Patna Pirates and winless after three matches so far in the season, Pune produced a result it will savour for a long time.
The night began with Sanket Sawant flooring Pardeep Narwal in the very first raid of the match. This ended up being the story of the match.
Manjeet scored a bonus point in the next raid before the Korean, Jang Kun Lee was sent to the bench in his first raid. From thereon, the wind only blew in one direction.
Pune stormed to a 10-point lead and inflicted the first all-out on Patna Pirates. Girish Ernak's tackle on Mohammad Maghsoudlou at 14-0 marked the best start by any team against Patna, which was yet to get off the mark after 10 minutes.
The three-times champion scored its first point of the night through Monu and then went on to score 4 more points on the trott.
Both teams accumulated points before Patna Pirates dished out its first all-out to reduce the deficit to seven points at 9-16.
Pawan Kadian and Manjeet of Pune scored two tackle points as the first half came to close at 20-10 in the favour of the Paltan. More than the points put on board, Pune will be happy to have restricted Pardeep Narwal to the bench for more than 13 minutes.
Narwal, eventually, did come to party when he clinched three points with a super raid. He got the bonus point along with sending Shubham Shinde and Sanket Sawant to the bench.
The score line now read 13-21 favouring Pune. However, Patna could not pull off a comeback like the Thalaivas.
Amit Kumar registered four tackle points and five raid points and was ably supported by Pankaj Mohite, who finished the night with eight points. The final nail in the coffin was hammered in at 16-32 when Pune inflicted a second all-out on Patna.
The match came to a fitting end with Mohite scoring a raid point as Puneri Paltan defeated Patna Pirates 41-20.
The Pirates succumbed to its joint-worst defeat at the Patliputra Stadium and has lost the first two matches of its home leg.
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