Ex-Bulls Manjeet Chhillar, Ajay Thakur star in Puneri Paltan win over Bengaluru Bulls
It was the final day of kabaddi action at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi and the first match of the evening saw the Puneri Paltan take on the Bengaluru Bulls, who are seventh on the league table and out of contention for the playoffs. The Paltan beat the Bulls 44-27 to be in the driver’s seat for a semi-final spot.
Manjeet Chhillar faced off once again against the team he led to the runners-up position in Season 2 and would have certainly hoped for another win over the Bulls after his Pune side won the previous encounter in the league phase by the slimmest of margins.
Shrikant Tewthia led the Bulls for this tie as Sujeet Narwal was not even among the substitutes and for Puneri Paltan, star raider and former Bulls man Ajay Thakur returned to the starting lineup ahead of this game. The Pune team raced into a quick 4-1 lead before the Bengaluru men picked up a couple of their own.
Then in the 9th minute, Deepak Kumar Dahiya produced the moment of the half as he took out four defenders in a spectacular super raid and overturned the deficit into a brisk 4-7 lead. With Pune’s numbers reduced, the Bulls completed the first all out of the game in the very next minute which meant that they were now leading 5-10.
The Puneri Paltan clawed their way into the match and reduced the deficit to just one point at 10-11. Then in a monumental effort, they scored an all out and reeled off six points in a row to open up a 16-12 lead before a super raid by Ajay Thakur sent them into the break with a huge boost.
HT: Puneri Paltan 19-13 Bengaluru Bulls
The Pune side threatened to pull away as they opened up a sizeable 21-14 lead in the 24th minute of the match. But to their credit, the Bengaluru Bulls stemmed the flow with a fantastic super tackle and kept pegging away at the deficit.
They managed to reduce the deficit to three points at 24-21, but were blown out the water by an Ajay Thakur super raid that fetched his side four points. The impending all out came in the 35th minute that gave a comfortable 10-point advantage to the Paltan at 33-23.
It all went south for the Bulls after this blow as Pune raced into a 38-25 lead and the salt was added to the wound by Manjeet Chhillar as he dismissed the remaining two Bulls defenders in emphatic fashion to score an all out and the game on a high.
FT: Puneri Paltan 44-27 Bengaluru Bulls
A fantastic match that saw some fabulous raids as Ajay Thakur and Deepak Kumar Dahiya both scored seven raid points each. Manjeet Chhillar was the game’s top scorer with a total of eight points. It was a close fight that could have gone either way but was turned in his team’s favour by Ajay Thakur’s incredible super raid.