Patna Pirates got their second win in three matches at home as they beat Puneri Paltan 32-28 in a tense encounter at the Patliputra Sports Complex. The home side enjoyed a massive lead at half time and were given a scare by a Pravin Newale-inspired Pune, but they held on at the end to ensure they won their third match of the tournament to continue their revival.
The first points of the match came in the opening few seconds when Ravi Dalal rushed into the Pune half and returned with a bonus point before the Paltans had even gotten ready. The home team took a 3-1 lead in the 3rd minute, but Pune levelled soon after by tackling Ravi Dalal and Deepak Narwal.
Patna took a 2-point lead again in the 8th minute, but Pravin Newale got Pune in the lead in a single raid by conjuring up a super raid to make it 7-6 in Pune’s favour. Undeterred by the setback, the Pirates reclaimed their lead in the 10th minute and extended it to 3 points in the next couple of minutes. Puneri Paltan made it a 1-point game (trailing 9-10) in the 15th minute, but it was all Patna from there.
The home team moved up a gear in the final 5 minutes of the first half as they led 20-13 at half time. The Pirates also managed to get an all out in the 17th minute as they ended the half on a 10-4 run. Ashok Shinde had a tough job on his hands to inspire his team, as they looked devoid of any ideas in the first period.
A mini-revival for Puneri Paltan at the start
The second half started with both the teams exchanging points for the first 5 minutes as the score stood at 23-16 in the home side’s favour after 25 minutes. However, Puneri Paltan started their revival as they kept on eating away at the home team’s lead. With the score at 25-20 in the 30th minute and the home side having just 2 defenders, Pravin Newale completed an all out for Pune as they reduced the deficit to just 1 point.
The home crowd helped their side push away from the challengers as they took a 4-point lead (29-25) in the 35th minute. The effervescent Pravin Newale helped his team reduce Patna’s lead to just 2 points with 3 minutes to go. However, Ravi Dalal returned successfully from his raid, while Pravin was pushed out of the court in the penultimate minute as the home team made the scoreline 31-27.
Both the teams won a point each in the final minute as the home side won their second consecutive match to propel themselves up the table (4th) while Pune remained in the bottom half. Pravin Newale was the lone fighter in a losing cause, while Deepak Narwal, Ravi Dalal and Sandeep Narwal took the home side to yet another win in Rakesh Kumar’s absence.
Man of the match: Pravin Newale