Captain Maninder Singh and all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh helped the defending champion Bengal Warriors beat Jaipur Pink Panthers 31-28 in a closely fought match of the Pro Kabaddi League in Bengaluru on Monday.
Maninder scored 13 points while Nabibakhsh fetched 10, including a last-minute Super Tackle, to help Bengal overcome a stiff challenge from Jaipur.
Arjun Deshwal was the sole performer for the Pink Panthers, clinching another Super 10 and finishing the game with 16 points. But his failed attempt in the last raid of the match cost Jaipur a chance to win.
As it happened:
Bengal and Jaipur went into the match with the worst tackle strike rates in the league and it wasn’t surprising to see the raiders dominate the early stages.
Bengal captain Maninder Singh was in red-hot form with Mohammad Nabibakhsh supporting him. The two clinched successive multi-point raids in sixth minute to get Bengal their first All Out in the seventh minute and open a 5-point lead.
At the other end, Arjun Deshwal was equally impressive in the pink jersey. His crucial points, especially in Do-or-Die raids, ensured Jaipur stayed in touching distance of the defending champions.
The second half was not a lot different for the raiders as both Maninder Singh and Arjun Deshwal picked up their Super 10s. This was Arjun Deshwal's fifth Super 10 in as many matches, but Jaipur failed to support him with captain Deepak Hooda not bringing his A-game to the mat.
But the Pink Panthers smelled an opportunity when they Super Tackled Maninder Singh in the ninth minute. That was followed by a yellow card for defender Abozar Mighani for arguing with the referee.
But Bengal kept producing important tackles to stay in the lead. Going into the last five minutes, they had a narrow 3-point lead, but Jaipur tackled Maninder successfully to reduce that gap.
But Mohammad Nabibakhsh immediately produced a 2-point raid. A last-minute failed tackle by the Warriors made it a 1-point game, but Nabibakhsh, the hero of Bengal in Season 7 final, produced a stunning Super Tackle in the last raid of the match on Arjun Deshwal to clinch the match.
Patna Pirates maintained its winning run as it overcame a spirited Telugu Titans 31-30 in the second game of the evening.
It was a team effort by the Pirates led by Monu Goyat (7 points) and Sachin (6 points). The Titans must have thought they managed a tie when Ankit Beniwal picked up a point in the dying seconds to level the scores, but Sachin kept calm in the final raid to ensure Patna got all 5 points. Ankit Beniwal scored a Super 10 for the Titans which is still without a win in Season 8.
As it happened:
The first half belonged to Patna Pirates with their raiders Prashanth Kumar Rai and Sachin picking up easy points. Prashanth was the first to produce magic, a
dubki leading to a 3-point Super Raid in the 5th minute of the match and shifting the momentum towards Patna. The three-time champion didn’t waste too much time and inflicted the game’s first ALL OUT in the 10th minute to open a 5-point lead. Mohammadreza Chiyaneh and Sajin C once again had a good day in the defence as Titans’ raiders struggled to find an opportunity.
With Siddharth Desai missing, the pressure was on the young raiding duo of Rakesh Gowda and Ankit Beniwal but they couldn’t match the athleticism and teamwork of the Pirates defence. The half ended 18 -13 with the Pirates in the lead.
But the Titans weren’t willing to let this match go, and they found the much-needed motivation in their defence. Ruturaj Koravi’s diving double thigh holds gave them the impetus to thwart the Pirates attack. The raiders absorbed that confidence as well with Beniwal and Rakesh Gowda forcing an ALL OUT in the 8th minute of the second half.
Beniwal then produced a three-point Super Raid with less than 8 minutes remaining to level the scores 24-24. Monu Goyat, showcased his all-rounder abilities by initiating a Super Tackle with less than 5 minutes left, to give Pirates some breathing space.
But the Titans closed the gap once again and Beniwal made it level with just one raid remaining in the match. The only remaining player on the mat for Pirates was raider Sachin and he pounced on a mistake by Sandeep Kandola in the left corner of Titans to win the match for Pirates.
(With inputs from PTI)
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