Manush Shah’s magnificence helped Puneri Paltan TT, the home team, snatch the advantage from Bengaluru Smashers. But Jeet Chandra and Natalia Bajor’s late charge meant the adopted home team - with the Pune-based owners having a larger cheering squad than the home team - sneaked ahead to a 8-7 win in the Ultimate Table Tennis season four.
Manush, the bespectacled Barodian, led the Paltan’s revival on Sunday night in front of the largest spectator turnout at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex after the Smashers had opened up a 4-2 lead.
With Manush winning five of the six points that were up for grabs in the matches that he featured in, Paltan staged a dramatic turnaround after the Bengaluru franchise that started on a promising note.
When the Paltan was ahead 7-4, and an on-song Manush having won the first two games against Jeet Chandra, the Paltan bench was sensing a win. But Jeet pulled off a late heist to keep the tie alive and Natalia Bajor whitewashed Archana Kamath in an entertaining duel to spark celebrations along with her teammates.
But the win wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for Kirill Gerassimenko and Manika Batra, the Bengaluru’s star players, starting off on an impressive note. While Kirill surprised Egypt’s Omar Assar, Manika overcame Hana Matelova’s stiff resistance with an identical margin of 2-1,
The close tie result also meant that both the teams kept their hopes of a semifinal berth alive with just four league ties remaining.
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