Pro Kabaddi: Patna Pirates 26-24 Jaipur Pink Panthers; Defending champions knocked out
Defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers failed to make the semi-finals after losing 24-26 to Patna Pirates. Despite the best efforts of Ran Singh, who scored 8 points, the Pirates were in control throughout the match as they qualified for the semis; something which looked extremely unlikely just 2 days ago. Tae Deok Eom and Sandeep Narwal scored 5 points each for the Pirates in this virtual quarter-final.
Patna Pirates started the match on the right note, gathering 2 points in 3 minutes, but Jaipur levelled the score by tackling Patna captain Sandeep Narwal and a bonus point through Sonu Narwal. Jasvir Singh raided successfully for the defending champions, while Gurvinder Singh was caught by the alert Panthers defence as Jaipur led 4-2 after 7 minutes.
However, it was one-way traffic from there as the team, who finished 3rd last season, staged a comeback with the help of South Korean Tae Deok Eom, who scored 2 points from a single raid and another through a brilliant tackle on Sonu Narwal as the Pirates led 8-5. Sandeep Narwal completed the all out in the 12th minute to help the Pirates take a 6-point lead.
The Pink Panthers and Pirates exchanged points for the rest of the half as Patna led 16-9 at the midway break. The defending champions failed to get a stranglehold on the match in the first half as Gurvinder Singh, Tae Deok Eom and Sandeep Narwal all scored 3 points to help the Pirates end the half on the front foot.
Patna hold on to seal qualification
Deepak Narwal scored his first points of the match in the first raid of the second half by winning 2 points as his team increased their lead to 9. With Jaipur down to 3 men, the onus was on Ran Singh to revive his teammates and he did just that with a successful raid and preventing an all out for his team. However, Rajesh Narwal was tackled by the Pirates in the 29th minute to reduce Jaipur down to 3 men once again.
This time, however, it was their defence who shined when Tae Deok Eom was the victim of a super tackle by the Pink Panthers, who trailed 15-21. The Pirates’ lead was reduced to 4 points (21-17) by Jaipur in the 31st minute. Despite the absence of star player Rakesh Kumar, Patna restored their 6-point lead after Prashant Chavan and Sonu Narwal were tackled in successive raids.
But, the defending champions showed their pedigree and caught Deepak Narwal in a super tackle while Jasvir Singh returned successfully from his raid to make it 20-23 with 5 minutes to go in the match. The Patna Pirates bench, looking at this shift in momentum, called for a timeout to calm the players down and discuss a fresh strategy.
The teams swapped points for the next 3 minutes as the Pirates held a slender 3-point lead with 2 minutes to go in the match. Jaipur captain Jasvir Singh was held at his place by a sensational tackle from his counterpart Sandeep Narwal while Tae Deok Eom showed his strength by pushing Rajesh Narwal off the court.
Trailing by 5 points in the final minute, Jaipur conjured up a super tackle on Gurvinder Singh, but a smart sacrifice by Sandeep Narwal ensured Jaipur were unable to make a comeback. Patna Pirates ended the match with a 26-24 win over Jaipur Pink Panthers to enter the semi-finals. The defending champions have now been knocked out of the tournament in the group stage.
Man of the match: Ran Singh