PKL: Telugu Titans registers morale-boosting win

All but out of contention for the next round of the competition, Telugu Titans managed to register a morale-boosting win here on Wednesday, thrashing Jaipur Pink Panthers 41-34 in the inter-zonal challenge at the Thyagaraj sports complex.

The contest between two struggling teams – both were placed second from last in their respective zones before the game – saw the Titans march ahead from the word go with Jaipur always playing catch up.   -  AP

All but out of contention for the next round of the competition, Telugu Titans managed to register a morale-boosting win here on Wednesday, thrashing Jaipur Pink Panthers 41-34 in the inter-zonal challenge at the Thyagaraj sports complex.

The contest between two struggling teams – both were placed second from last in their respective zones before the game – saw the Titans march ahead from the word go with Jaipur always playing catch up. It was also a battle of raiders as Titans skipper Rahul Chaudhari, who's been playing a lone hand for his team all through the season, and youngster Pawan Kumar of Jaipur fought to score more. It was only fair that they both came away with a massive 17 raid points against their names.

Match Centre

The difference was in the teams' defence. While Sombir and Vishal Bhardwaj stepped up the plate and kept the Titans' half safe for most part of the game, the experienced pair of Jasvir Singh and Manjit Chillar – who have been the stars for the side – managed to score only one point between them. With no one to support Pawan in raids either – Chaudhari had Nilesh Salunke to back him up -- Jaipur was a team in disarray. It was also surprising to see K. Selvamani, one of the best raiders last season, kept on the bench and brought in late in the game by Jaipur.

The difference was visible from the start as Titans raced away to a 23-11 lead at half time after being cautious for the first ten minutes. It included a Jaipur all out that also saw Chaudhari complete his Super 10 in the game in the first half itself. In fact, Jaipur could manage only three tackle points through the game, and none in the first half.

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The second half began in a similar vein with Titans continuing to increase their margin to 29-15 at one point before Pawan decided to take it upon himself to claw back. He made 20 forays across the line for his 17 points. He kept chipping away at the lead even as Titans, for some reason, became defensive. The score was a respectable 38-34 in the Titans' favour with one minute to go and, as has been seen here before, it could have gone either way. But Chaudhari, the first raider in PKL to breach the 600 raid points mark, made sure it wouldn't, scoring three points in his last two raids to seal the issue. His team also jumped to sixth in Zone B with this win.

The result: Telugu Titans 41 (Rahul Chaudhari 17, Nilesh Salunke 7, Vishal Bhardwaj 5, Sombir 4, Mohsen Maghsoudlou 4) bt Jaipur Pink Panthers 34 (Pawan Kumar 17, Nitin Rawal 4).

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