Match 3 of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi saw Jaipur Pink Panthers take on defending champions U Mumba at Visakhapatnam. The match ended 27-18 in the favour of the Panthers, who started their campaign with a win in a low-scoring encounter.
It was the Panthers’ Sonu Narwal who drew first blood in the match by getting Anup Kumar out with a touch point while U Mumba’s recent addition to the squad, Rakesh Kumar, returning the favour in the next minute to level the score for the defending champions.
Sonu and Jasvir Singh made their next raids count and gave Jaipur a 2-point lead early in the game. However, the duo of Anup Kumar and Rakesh Kumar brought them back to level terms with 10 minutes to go in the first half. The next few minutes saw both the teams playing defensively and taking risk only when it was a do-or-die raid, and Jaipur edged the half with a 1-point lead.
HT: Jaipur Pink Panthers 10-9 U Mumba
The start of the 2nd half saw both Rishank Devadiga and Rajesh Narwal getting out in their respective raids. In the 26th minute, Rishank earned a touch point to get his side back on level terms with the Panthers. Rohit Rana led his defensive unit from the front and was successful in blunting the U Mumba attackers.
However, it was Jasvir Singh’s heroics in the end which proved to be the difference between the sides as the Panthers pulled apart and increased their lead to 7 points with just 3 minutes to play in the match. The defending champions tried hard with Anup Kumar and Rishank in the next few raids, but the Panthers’ defence tightened at the back till the end and suffered the first all out of the match on U Mumba with just a minute to go.
The champions of the inaugural season Jaipur Pink Panthers held to their 9-point advantage over U Mumba and finished the match 27-18 to start their campaign with a win.
FT: Jaipur Pink Panthers 27-18 U Mumba
Telugu Titans vs Puneri Paltan
The second match of the night saw home side Telugu Titans take on the new-look Puneri Paltan squad.
Rahul Chaudhari started the proceedings of the match with a touch point in the very first raid of the match, but, Puneri Paltan’s new addition, Ajay Thakur got the visitors on level terms via a frog jump in the 3rd minute of the match.
In the next few minutes, the home side tried hard to contain the agile Puneri side, but they were unable to hold the experienced duo of Ajay Thakur and Manjeet Chhillar, as they made it a 4-point game with 7 minutes left in the 1st half. The home side suffered their 1st all out of the match in the 19th minute of the match, as last man Meraj Sheykh was caught by the alert Pune defence.
Half-Time: Telugu Titans 14-17 Puneri Paltan
Manjeet Chhillar started the proceedings in the second half and came back empty-handed, however, it was the home side who earned the first point of the half, as Ajay Thakur was reprimanded for breaking his cant and, thus, handed the home side an easy point.
Deepak Niwas Hudda got a point back for the visitors to extend their lead to 4 points with 15 minutes to play for in the second half. Jasmer Gulia effected a super-tackle on Dharmaraj Cheralathan to take the visitors back to a 4-point lead with 10 minutes left on the clock. Ajay contributed in the defensive half as well, trapping Sukesh Hegde with an ankle hold as the Paltan extended their lead to 6 points.
The home side, however, staged an unlikely comeback. Iranian Meraj effected a super tackle via a low deep thigh hold on Deepak Hudda and thus, shifted the momentum in favour of his side with 4 minutes to play for in the second half.
Telugu Titans are known for coming into the games in the final minutes of the match and they lived up to their billing when Rohit earned a touch point to make it a 1-point game with 1 minute to go in the match. Rahul Chaudhari applied the finishing touches with the last raid of the match and the scores level! He earned a point in the buzzer raid and thus got Telugu Titans their first win of the campaign.
Full-Time: Telugu Titans 27 – 26 Puneri PaltanPublished 31 Jan 2016, 20:10 IST