Titans eases past Thalaivas in PKL opening encounter

Though it was the Tamil Thailavas who opened the scoring, it was only a matter of time before the Telugu Titans took control of the game and the match.

Telugu Titans’ captain Rahul Chaudhari excelled in his side's 32-27 victory over the Tamil Thalaivas.   -  Nagara Gopal

Local favourites and strong-contenders, Telugu Titans, began its campaign in style with a 32-27 win over first-timers Tamil Thailavas in the opening game of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 5, at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Friday.

It was apparent from the start that the Chennai outfit, which is making its debut in the League, struggled to settle down against a relatively more experienced opposition.

Though it was Thailavas who opened the scoring, it was only a matter of time before the Rahul Chaudhari-led Titans controlled the pace of the game.

With Rahul once again leading from the front, Titans was rarely tested especially in the first-half which it led at 18-11.

Thailavas, led by Ajay Thakur, found the going tough as he himself said later that the speed and skills of Rahul's side were just too good. Interestingly, it was also confessed that the young players in the team were too "excited" by the ambience and the aura of the opening game, which was watched by the team owners Sachin Tendulkar and N. Prasad, among a host of other celebrities.

But, significantly, in the second session, Thailavas put up an improved show, with Ajay Thakur making his presence felt and the defence was a lot stronger, so much so that even Rahul had a empty raid during this phase.

The captain later said it was important for the team to start on a winning note in front of home crowd. "We got the momentum now and hope to continue in this three-month long league," said a smiling Rahul.

Puneri Paltan registers victory

In the second match of the evening, Puneri Paltan scored a 33-21 win over U Mumba after leading 17-10 at the break. With seasoned campaigners Deepak Hooda and Sandeep Narwal rising to the occasion, Puneri Paltan had little difficulty in quelling the challenge of the opposition, which somehow failed to rise to the occasion.

The results:

Telugu Titans beat Tamil Thalaivas 32-27; Puneri Paltan bt U Mumba 33-21.