Pro Kabaddi 2018 League, Match 41: Dabang Delhi K.C. vs Puneri Paltan Review | 31 October, 2018
Table toppers from Zone A, Puneri Paltan, who had lost 3 consecutive matches were taking on the defence-heavy Dabang Delhi KC and it promised to be a cracking of a game. With Girish Ernak’s return in the game for the Pune outfit, the Paltan looked hopeful of winning the match and get some momentum under their belt.
However, Nitin Tomar’s absence was a big point of concern for Puneri Paltan and it was time the other raiders stepped up. Dabang Delhi, who have had a decent start to the PKL season 6, was raring to bounce back from their close loss to the UP Yodhas.
Dabang Delhi – Chandran Ranjit, Vishal Mane, Rajesh Narwal, Naveen Kumar, Yogesh Hooda, Ravinder Pahal, Joginder Narwal.
Puneri Paltan – Deepak Kumar Dahiya, Ravi Kumar, Girish Maruti Ernak, More GB, Monu, Sandeep Narwal, Rinku Narwal.
Meraj Sheykh and Shabeer Bappu for Dabang Delhi. Akshay Jadhav for Puneri Paltan.
Puneri Paltan won the toss and chose the court.
In the absence of their lead raider, Nitin Tomar, the onus was on More GB to make the initial in-roads and he obliged with the first point for Puneri Paltan. Monu received a caution for aggressive tackling and ended up with a Green card. Five minutes in the game and Puneri Paltan gave no sniff to the opposing team to score a point. Playing a rather defensive game, Chandran Ranjit was tackled and the score read 0-4, in favour of Puneri Paltan.
Finally, Dabang Delhi took their first point by tackling Monu during his raid. Joginder Narwal, the left corner of Dabang Delhi and captain of the side, took the lead and was blocked-in again, by tackling GB More. With back to back successive tackles, Delhi was growing in confidence and it started to reflect in their game.
Chandran Ranjit, lead raider of Delhi, attempted a Toofani Super raid which changed the course of the entire match and picked up 3 points for his team, levelling the account to 5-all and leaving only 3 men on the floor for Puneri Paltan.
Not even 10 minutes had passed in the game and Puneri Paltan could feel the pressure from Dabang Delhi. An impatient Girish Ernak, in order to tackle the next raider from Delhi, overstepped on the white line inflicting the first all-out of the night for the Paltan.
Delhi had drawn first blood. Paltan was hurting.
With a super raid of 3 touch points, 6 minutes before halftime, Monu ignited the Puneri Paltan comeback and equalized the score to 13-all. Following the super raid, Ranjit, the star raider of Dabang Delhi got tackled leaving only two men on the court, with the team staring at an all-out which More GB inflicted in his next raid.
With both teams suffering one all-out each, Dabang Delhi was trailing Puneri Paltan by 7 points at the stroke of halftime. The score was 15-22.
Four minutes in the game after halftime, Delhi picked up momentum against the Puneri Paltan yet again. Naveen took two touch points on the strong players, Monu and Sandeep Narwal, sending them to the bench.
Ravinder Pahal initiated a tackle on Deepak Kumar Dahiya during his do-or-die raid and the team supported in a tackle, winning a point against Deepak. It was time for Puneri Paltan to show their strengths to Dabang Delhi so they worked on the defence too and tackled Shabeer Bappu during his raid. The score became 19-25, in favour of Puneri Paltan.
Pune by now was looking confident about winning the game and hence, started playing smart and a rather patient game on the mat. Dabang Delhi, to step up their game, started playing on the do-or-die raids by their opposing team and got successful in this strategy when Joginder Narwal tackled Monu during his do-or-die raid, bringing the score difference down to 5 points.
In the subsequent raids, however, Puneri Paltan showcased their extraordinary defensive techniques and managed to maintain a score difference of 5 to 6 points with time running down.
With 10 minutes to go, Akshay Jadhav, a replacement for Girish Ernak, showed staggering performance by taking a point on Ravinder Pahal in a what-could-have-been-a-super-tackle for Dabang Delhi. Delhi pushed hard to level up the score. But their every attempt was responded with equal might from the Paltan.
Puneri Paltan then dismissed Chandran Ranjit twice and Meraj Sheykh once through their impeccable defence. It was clear, the Maharashtra side was more interested in keeping the lead and running down the clock, while Dabang Delhi became more and more desperate to make up the difference.
The match ended on a score of 27-31 in favour of Puneri Paltan. With this win, Puneri Paltan extended remained at the top with 37 points but have already played 12 matches. Coach Ashan Kumar would be happy with the performance of his lads, especially as their lead raider Nitin Tomar was not playing.
Now they will rest and look forward to taking on the red-hot U-Mumba in their next encounter in the Maharashtrian derby. Delhi should not be disheartened by this loss as they put on a good performance. They will look to regroup and will be hoping to bounce back sooner rather than later.