ProKabaddi: Puneri Paltan destroys Bengal Warriors

The Puneri Paltan turned up fully charged up to demolish Bengal Warriors 43-19 at the National Sports Club of India in Worli to ensure a third-placed finish and avoid facing the top-ranked team in the play-offs.

Players of Bengal Warriors and Puneri Paltan (orange and white) in action during their Pro Kabaddi match in Mumbai.   -  PTI

When Bengal Warriors hosted Puneri Paltan in their first face-off almost four weeks ago in Kolkata, it was billed as the clash of the minnows of the ProKabaddi’s third edition. After all, both the teams had finished at the bottom of the pile in each of the first two editions.

Come Wednesday and the scenario has drastically changed. Not only have both the teams shed the tag of also-rans but even before their last league match of the season, had ensured a place in the semi-finals. Despite the top four places having been decided on Tuesday night itself, there was plenty at stake for both the teams.

The winner was to finish third in the league stage and thus avoid the top team in the league stage in the semi-final. And the Puneri Paltan turned up fully charged up to demolish Bengal Warriors 43-19 at the National Sports Club of India in Worli to spark off a unique celebration and head to Delhi high on confidence.

The 24-point victory was anchored by Deepak Hooda’s 13 points while raiding the opposition half, aided by Surjeet Narwal’s eight points, including seven while defending. So scintillating was Hooda that he left the Warriors defenders in awe. The fact that the Warriors defenders could tackle him only once in his 18 raids underlines his supremacy.

While Hooda returned with a point virtually every time he raided, it was fleet-footed Nilesh Salunkhe who drew the loudest cheer with the best raid of the game. Attacking in the 26th minute, Salunkhe ousted three Warriors defenders, besides adding a bonus before returning to his half.

At the same time, Narwal’s tackles were a treat to watch. He continued to single-handedly charge at the opposition raiders and overhaul them all through the match. No wonder the Paltan could dismantle the Warriors thrice during the match.

U Mumba finishes at the top

U Mumba outclassed Dabang Delhi 36-20 in the last league to extend its unbeaten run to 10 games. More importantly, the comfortable victory helped it pip Patna Pirates and finish at the top of the table. The result meant the on-song Mumbai outfit will face Bengal Warriors in the semi-final.

Results: Puneri Paltan 43 bt Bengal Warriors 19; U Mumba 36 bt Dabang Delhi 20.

Semi-final line-up: U Mumba vs Bengal Warriors; Puneri Paltan vs Patna Pirates.