Pro Kabaddi: When Mumbai combined with Haryana to raid Delhi in Pune
The Pune leg started off with a bang yesterday as hosts Puneri Paltan grabbed a rare victory in the Pro Kabaddi League as superb second half performance saw them come back from 11-18 down at half time to 33-28 at full time.
Coming under heavy criticism this season, the Puneri Paltan defense silenced its critics once again with a solid performance to tame Delhi’s Kashiling Adake and co. But with Wazir Singh struggling with injury and local boy Pravin Niwale out with an injury, it was Mumbai’s Jitesh Sharad Joshi and Haryana’s Sanjay Kumar who took up the mantle and snatched the game from Delhi’s grasps in the second half.
After being all out within the first ten minutes, the Puneri Paltan were reeling at 4-12. But Wazir Singh’s raid coupled with the dismissal of Kashiling in the next built a platform for a Puneri Paltan comeback.
But with a do or die raid for Jitesh Joshi, the comeback had a potential obstruction. But Mumbai’s Jitesh Joshi did brilliantly to snatch a touch point to not just remain in the game but keep the Puneri Paltan’s fight back alive.
Despite being 11-18 down at half time, Puneri Paltan had the momentum to comeback and inflict an all-out on the Dabang Delhi side. With the gap down to just three points at 20-23 and Pune on the front foot Jitesh Joshi removed super defender and Dabang Delhi captain Ravinder Pahal and deal a huge blow to the Delhi defense.
As Dabang Delhi’s grip over the game loosened, Haryana’s Sanjay Kumar stepped up for the Puneri Paltan and turned the game around for them with a Super Raid and take Puneri Paltan into the lead for the first time in the game at 25-24 for the first time in the game.
The Paltan were firmly in the driver’s seat after another all-out but Dabang Delhi hit back and reduced the deficit to just one point when Shrikant Tewthia grabbed two touch points with just four minutes left.
The Paltan were extremely vulnerable and one thought they would go into the shell to protect the lead, but instead a nippy Sanjay Kumar kept up the heat on Dabang Delhi by snatching a bonus away and stretch the lead to two points.
“It is a great feeling to win in front of your own fans”
Jitesh Joshi then finished off the game in great style as he picked up another point in the final raid of the game to clinch a 33-28 win for the Puneri Paltan in front of their own fans.
Speaking to Sportskeeda after the game, the duo was particularly pleased with the win and the performance. “We are delighted with this result and we are going to cherish it for now. It’s a great feeling to win in front of your own fans”, said Jitesh Joshi.
When asked about the thoughts that went on in his mind before the Super Raid, Sanjay Kumar was simply straightforward in his answer. “For me it was simple. My team needed points and I had to deliver it. I knew the opponents were under pressure and I attacked them which worked for me”, said a rather shy Sanjay Kumar.
It was wonderful how Jitesh from Mumbai and Sanjay from Haryana struck a perfect combination for Pune to eventually bring down Delhi. It just goes to show how top quality players from different Kabaddi cultures combined so well and formed a potent threat.
The duo will now be looking to do the same to U-Mumba, with whom the Puneri Paltan plays later today.