Jaipur Pink Panthers had a mindblowing start to their campaign in the seventh edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. Facing their first loss of the season against Dabang Delhi in the Patna leg, they required to clinch a victory to improve their ranking on the points' table.
Puneri Paltan, coached by former stalwart player Anup Kumar, was sitting on the last spot and needed to emerge victorious in their battle against Junior Bachchan's Jaipur Pink Panthers. Coincidentally, Dabang Delhi demolished both the teams in their previous matches.
Read to find out how the anticipated face-off between Deepak Niwas Hooda's Panthers and Nitin Tomar's Paltan proceeded at the Eka Arena by TranStadia, on the auspicious occasion of India's Independence Day.
Jaipur Pink Panthers: Deepak Niwas Hooda, Nilesh Salunke, Amit Hooda, Sandeep Kumar Dhull, Sunil Siddhgavali, Nitin Rawal, Vishal
Puneri Paltan: PO Surjeet Singh, Manjeet, Nitin Tomar, Sushant Sail, Jadhav Balasaheb Shahaji, Shubham Shinde, Girish Maruti Ernak
Jaipur Pink Panthers won the toss and chose the court.
Nitin Tomar, who recently recovered from his injury, went out for the first raid and returned with a swift bonus. Deepak Hooda, the brilliant all-rounder, toe-touched Nitin and brought in the opening point for the Panthers' squad.
A beautiful dive on Sushant ensured a point for the Pink army. Manjeet, the grey-eyed wonder, stole a commendable two-pointer for the Paltan in the next raid.
Abhishek Bachchan, the wonderful owner of the Panthers, looked impressed, appreciating his squad's panther-like efforts. As the battle progressed, Paltan were reduced to just a single man. Eventually, Amit Hooda inflicted an all-out on their nemesis in the 16th minute of the match.
Another dazzling two-pointer by Hooda promised the Panthers a seven-point lead. The raiding unit of the Orange Army, especially Nitin Tomar, did not live up to the expectations and hence put them way behind their opponents.
At half-time, the scoreboard displayed 17-11 in Jaipur's favour. Pankaj Mohite, a substitute from Pune, who played at the Khelo India Games, made a brilliant impression on everyone with his laudable game. On the other hand, Jaipur saw every player strive hard and pitch in crucial points for the squad.
As the second half commenced, Pankaj stole a point right after which, Nitin Rawal from the Panthers' army sent Sagar Krishna out. A sluggish defense unit of the Paltan committed a bunch of unwanted rookie errors and hence they lagged behind on the scoreboard.
Pouncing on the ankles similar to a lion, Jadhav Shahaji inflicted a top-class super tackle on Nitin Rawal. Suffering yet another unfortunate all-out, the Paltan slipped into a graver danger. The score 27-17 in the 31st minute of the battle was tilted in Jaipur's direction.
By choking Deepak, the Iranian wall Hadi Tajik performed a powerful super-tackle. Hooda gave a fitting reply and sent Girish off the mat, making the Junior Bachchan grin.
Unimpressed by the referee's decision, Puneri took a successful review, getting themselves a point. On a night full of super-tackles, Pune inflicted another one and sent Deepak off to the bench. Challenging the decision, Jaipur took a review, which upon inspection, did not go their way.
An obvious winner, Jaipur Pink Panthers emerged triumphant in the heated encounter with the score 33-25. With an immaculate offense and defense, Jaipur put up a wonderful show and won in a brilliant fashion. Pune, on the other hand, failed to live up to the expectations and hence were on the losing side.