Jaipur Pink Panthers got their second win of the tournament by beating Puneri Paltan 29-35. In the absence of Wazir Singh, the Paltans looked shaky in attack as captain for the night, Pravin Newale got the bulk of the points for the losing team while Sonu Narwal shone for the Panthers.
The first points of the match went to the defending champions when Rajesh Narwal returned successfully from his raid. Jasvir Singh was tackled in the next raid as Puneri Paltan levelled things in the match. After 4 minutes when both teams were tied at 2-2, Sonu Narwal conjured up a super raid when he returned to his half after tagging 3 Paltan players.
That set the tone for the rest of the half as the Panthers moved up a gear and reduced Puneri Paltan to just 1 player in the 11th minute. Pravin Newale, however, twice revived a teammate, but Jaipur sent them back in the resultant raids. Newale was caught in his third raid as the Panthers completed an all out in the 13th minute as Jaipur led 15-10.
For the rest of the half, both the teams exchanged points as the defending champions went into the break leading 19-13 agains Puneri Paltan, who were looking to avoid a 6th loss in the first 7 matches in the second season of Pro Kabaddi. Jasvir Singh and Sonu Narwal with 5 raid points each were the stars of the half.
Jaipur hold on this time
Tushar Patil and Amit Rathi were caught in their raids by the Navneet Gautam-led team at the start of the second half. However, Pune put up a fight and Sanjay Kumar scored 2 points in his raid, while Sonu Narwal was caught by the Paltan defenders in the 23rd minute as Jaipur led 21-16.
In this swinging tie, it was Rajesh Narwal’s turn to get 2 points while Newale was tackled in the subsequent raid to make it 24-16 in Jaipur’s favour. Led by Pravin Newale, Puneri Paltan chipped away at their lead and made it 21-25 with the final 10 minutes to go.
Rajesh Narwal restored Jaipur’s 8-point lead by the 34th minute, but Pravin made sure that the Panthers didn’t extend it any further as he won his team 2 more points. The Paltans made it a 3-point game with just 4 minutes to go on the clock as the Panthers had just 3 players on the court as the Paltans looked for an all out of their own. Interestingly, in each of Jaipur’s first 3 losses, they had led after 35 minutes.
Unfortunately for the team from Maharashtra, the Jaipur franchise held strong this time and did not let the Paltans back in the match, closing the match at 29-35 after a flurry of points for both teams near the end. Sonu Narwal returned with 8 points, while stand-in captain Pravin Newale won 9 points for his team.
Man of the match: Sonu Narwal