Thalaivas unable to break Sombir stranglehold

Telugu Titans defeated Tamil Thalaivas 33-28 to win its third game of the season. In the other match, U Mumbai upstaged Jaipur Pink Panthers 36-32.

Tamil Thalaivas players attempt to push out Telugu Titans captain Rahul Chaudhari (in yellow).   -  Special Arrangement

Telugu Titans held its nerve in a thrilling climax to hold back a spirited Tamil Thalaivas charge, winning 33-28 in a Vivo Pro Kabaddi 2017 tie that kept fans at the NSCI indoor stadium enthralled till the end.

Tackler Sombir emerged as Titans’ match-winner, especially towards the finish when Thalaivas, buoyed by tagging out the seven players in the rival side, looked set to turn the game around.

Sombir top-scored with 10 points from 10 tackles. Farhad Milaghardan showcased his expertise in catching and put pressure on rival defence with clever raiding (four points). Nilesh Salunkhe gained five raid points.

Thalaivas banked on K. Prapanjan (five raid points) for inspiration in tough moments and captain Ajay Thakur (eight raid points) was the other influential player.

Titans had won a face-off earlier against Thalaivas, so had a head start. Because of the absence of experienced Rakesh Kumar, Titans forced a shuffle. Iranians Farhad and Mohsen were included in the seven. Skipper Rahul Chaudhari kept his faith on Prapanjan.

Titans was coming into the game with a dubious record of eight losses in 11 games. No other side had suffered so many losses and a successful tackle by Thalaivas on Rahul Chaudhari at the start made matters worse. Two back-to-back super tackles helped Titans regain focus. The defence became sharper and the side led 12-9 at halfway mark.

Thalaivas had its back to the wall after suffering an all-out, but the team regrouped and trapped rival team’s ace raider Rahul Chaudhari to reduce the gap to 14-17. But Titans’ Mohsen assumed raiding duty and took his side 26-20 up.

Thalaivas coach called for time-out with four minutes remaining after which Titans committed a series of errors in both offensive and defensive zones to suffer an all-out. But it was too little too late as Titans managed to keep its nose ahead at 33-28, to win only its third game in the fifth season. Titans remains at fifth spot in Zone B and is one place above its opponent.

In the other match, U Mumba, cruising 30-23 at one stage against Jaipur Pink Panthers, doused an incredible fightback by the latter to win 36-32 in the concluding game of the Mumbai leg of Pro Kabaddi League. Jasvir Singh brought his game sense into play to rattle the home team in the last phase, but that wasn’t enough to stop U Mumbai from clinching its second victory in a row after losing the first three matches. The win lifted the side to second place in Zone A. JPP remains in fifth place.

Scores

U Mumba 36 (Kashling Adake 10, Shrikant Jadhav 6, Anup Kumar 6, Darshan Kadian 4, Surinder Singh 4) bt Jaipur Pink Panthers 32 (Pawan Kumar 10, Jasvir Singh 6, Nitin Rawal 3).

Telugu Titans 33 (Sombir 10, Nilesh Salunkhe 5, Farhad Milaghardan 4) bt Tamil Thalaivas 28 (Ajay Thakur 8, K. Prapanjan 5, J. Darshan 3).