PWL: Punjab Royals trump Dilli Veer

Riding on fine performances by World Championship medallists Vladimir Khinchegashvil, Vasilisa Marzaliuk and India’s Praveen Rana in the deciding bout, Punjab Royals prevailed over Dilli Veer 4-3 in the Pro Wrestling League.

Vinesh Phogat of Delhi Veer and Yana Rattigan of Punjab Royals in action during the Pro Wrestling League in Gurgaon on Friday.   -  PTI

Riding on fine performances by World Championship medallists Vladimir Khinchegashvil, Vasilisa Marzaliuk and India’s Praveen Rana in the deciding bout, Punjab Royals prevailed over Dilli Veer 4-3 in the Pro Wrestling League. It went down to wire with Punjab and Delhi teams tied at 3-3, before Praveen Rana helped the Royals have the last laugh. With this defeat, Dilli Veer slumped to their third consecutive loss in the competition.

Earlier, the first encounter of the day was a closely-fought contest between Dilli Veer’s Erdenebat Bekhbayar, who is a World Championship bronze medallist, and World Championship gold medal winner Vladimir Khinchegashvil, representing Punjab Royals. In a fast-paced fascinating battle, the gold medallist Vladimir eked out a narrow 4-3 win over Bekhbayar.

In the opening round, Bekhbayar gained the first two points before Vladimir also earned two points to go into the break tied 2-2. After the break, Bekhbayar could win a point as a result of a caution received by Vladimir and was leading 3-2. But with just a few seconds to go before the final whistle, Vladimir managed to topple his rival to earn important two points to win the bout and give Punjab an early lead.

In women’s 69kg category, Nikki of Dilli Veer failed to match up to Punjab’s Vasilisa Marzaliuk, World Championship bronze medallist, going down tamely 0-10 by technical superiority verdict in just 2:43 minutes. Vasilisa simply outplayed Nikki to gain eight points on a trot, rolling her again and again on the mat. Then she earned two more points just before the end of the first round to extend Punjab’s lead to 2-0.

The Delhi team, then, managed to win the next bout with World Championship silver medallist Navruzov Ikhtiyor defeating Rajneesh of Punjab 10-0 by technical superiority in men’s 65kg category. Rajneesh managed to come up with a good defense but Ikhtiyor used all his experience to beat the Indian grappler.

Punjab's captain defeated 4-1

After gaining four points in the opening round, Ikhtiyor won six more points in the second round to finish off the bout with two seconds remaining for the match to get over. World championship bronze medallist Yesilirmak Elif Jale, representing Dilli Veer, then took just 2:01 minutes to down Punjab’s captain and icon player Geeta Phogat 4-1 by fall in women’s 58kg category.

With this bout, Dilli Veer equalled the scores 2-2. But Jargalsaikhan Chuluubat of Punjab Royals gave his team lead once again by getting the better of Krishan of Dilli Veer in men’s 125kg division. Jargalsaikhan won three points in the first round by pushing the Indian out of the mat twice to take a healthy 3-0 lead, before coming back to win another point in the next round due to Krishan’s passivity.

But Dilli Veer captain Vinesh Phogat brought her team back on track, displaying some solid skills and technique to win the bout against Yana Rattigan of Punjab Royals 15-6 in women’s 48kg category. In a high scoring bout, Vinesh dominated from the very beginning to end round one 7-4 to push her rival on the back foot.

In the second round also Vinesh maintained her rhythm to bag eight more points to take the match to the decider. The final bout in men’s 74kg was a neck-and-neck battle between Praveen Rana of Punjab Royals and Dinesh Kumar of Dilli Veer.

After the opening round the scores were tied at 1-1 and the result was solely depended on the last and final round of the day. At the end, it was Praveen who kept his nerves to overcome Dinesh 6-2 and give Punjab Royals their second win of the tournament.