The first match of the third leg of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi was between the home side Jaipur Pink Panthers and Patna Pirates. The Panthers suffered a third consecutive loss as last season’s semi-finalists beat the defending champions 23-29 to break their duck. Captain Rakesh Kumar was brilliant in attack and youngster Sandeep Narwal gave an all-round display to slay the Panthers at their home.
Surprise raider Kuldeep Singh got the first points of the match in Jaipur Pink Panthers’ first raid. But, the away team caught Jasvir Singh to restore parity. India and Patna Pirates captain Rakesh Kumar got his first points of the match in his second raid as he helped his side take a 2-point lead after 5 minutes in the opening match of the Jaipur leg.
Jasvir Singh showed his quality by winning his side 3 points in his next 2 raids as the Panthers took the lead minutes later. Both the teams exchanged points for the next few minutes before substitute Deepak Narwal returned to his half having tagged 2 opponents.
In the final minute of the half, both teams were tied at 10-a-piece when Jasvir Singh, who had 5 raid points already, helped out in defence as he got Deepak Narwal out with a brilliant tackle. The half-time whistle blew soon after as the home side went into the break with a slender 1-point lead, 11-10, to the delight of the packed Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
A late points surge for the Pirates
The first two minutes in the second half failed to yield a single point to either team before the Pirates caught Iranian Mohammad Maghsoudlou. The next moment saw the most acrobatic moment of this season as in a Sandeep Narwal do-or-die raid, Prashant Chavan flew over the raider to avoid conceding a point to the delight of the crowd. The referee, however, gave both the teams a point as Chavan landed outside the box, while Narwal returned without tagging an opponent.
Home crowd favourite, Rajesh Narwal, returned successfully from his raid as the referee raised 3 fingers to indicate multiple points for the home side. By the 30th minute, the away team had levelled the score at 17-a-piece. Despite having only 3 players, the home side hung on and got Pirates captain Rakesh Kumar out in the 34th minute via a super tackle to tie the score at 20.
With 5 minutes left and both teams level, Patna still had the upper hand as they had 6 players on the pitch, compared to 3 for the home team. And they made the most of it by getting the home team all out, the first of the match, in the next two minutes to lead by 4 points, 25-21.
With both teams back to full strength, Jasvir Singh was caught by the Pirates defenders and they hung on to their lead till the end, when Rakesh Kumar returned from the buzzer raid with 2 points to put the finishing touches on a 29-23 win for his team.
Man of the match: Rakesh KumarPublished 26 Jul 2015, 20:50 IST