Pro Kabaddi: Telugu Titans beat Patna Pirates to 3rd place with a 34-26 win
Last season’s 3rd place finishers Patna Pirates lost 26-34 to Telugu Titans in this year’s 3rd place playoff to finish 4th. The Pirates played second fiddle to the Titans throughout the crunch clash as the young team from Hyderabad inflicted 2 all outs on their opponents. Sandeep Narwal, with 11 points, put up a brave fight for Patna, but Rahul Chaudhari ensured his team ended their campaign on the podium.
Patna Pirates and Telugu Titans were relegated to the 3rd place playoff after defeats to U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls, respectively. The Titans turned in a surprise team sheet by naming star raider Rahul Chaudhari on the bench while the Pirates were without former Indian captain Rakesh Kumar.
The match started with Patna Pirates on the front foot as the young Titans looked overwhelmed by the occasion without Rahul. Two successful raids by Gurvinder Singh in the first 5 minutes and a strong tackle by Sunil Kumar on Iranian Meraj Sheykh put the Pirates 3-0 up. Seeing his side give the opposition the momentum, Titans coach J Udaya Kumar brought Rahul on for Meraj Sheykh and this tilted the match in his team’s favour.
Prashant Rai scored 3 points in 2 raids to level the score at 3 each after 7 minutes while Gurvinder was tackled by the Titans as the team in yellow took the lead for the first time in the match. Rahul scored his first points of the match in the 11th minute before Deepak Nivas Hudda conjured up a super raid as the Titans established a 3-point lead (8-5). Vijay Malik was caught in the next raid while Rahul enforced an all out on the Pirates in the 12th minute to help the Titans lead 12-5.
After the revival, the Titans did not relent as they led 16-5 after scoring 12 unanswered points in 5 minutes. The team from Patna scored 3 points through good defending and a Rahul Chaudhari raid as the half drew to a close with the scoreline reading 16-8 in favour of Telugu Titans.
Patna refuse to go down without a fight
Sandeep Narwal reduced the Titans to just 3 men through his raid in the 21st minute, but Prashant Rai shook off Amit Hooda’s ankle hold to prevent an all out for his team. Prashant’s next successful raid was sandwiched between Gurvinder’s and Deepak Narwal’s unsuccessful raids as the Titans shifted the momentum in their favour by getting Patna down to 3 men in the 25th minute as they led 20-9.
However, the Pirates, twice, came up with a super tackle on Rahul Chaudhari to reduce their deficit to 8 points in the 29th minute. Sandeep Narwal scored 2 points from his raid as last season’s 3rd place finishers narrowed the score to 15-21. Deepak Nivas Hudda and Rahul Chaudhari scored a point each from their raids, while Gurvinder was sent back to the bench once again in the 32nd minute as Patna led 24-15.
The Pirates executed another super tackle, this time on Prashant Rai as the team from Patna refused to give up without a fight. In the 35th minute, Rahul Chaudhari extended Telugu Titans’ lead to 9 points with a super raid, but the lone fighter for Patna, Sandeep scored 3 points in the next raid.
Patna were down to their last man, Deepak Narwal, but the raider scored 2 points from his raid to prevent an all out. However, Rahul Chaudhari had other ideas as he completed another all out on Patna Pirates by taking both their defenders out in the 39th minute to almost ensure the win for his team as Telugu Titans led 34-23. Gurvinder Singh scored 2 points for Patna in the buzzer raid, but that was not enough as the Titans finished 3rd with a 34-26 win over Patna Pirates.
Man of the match: Rahul Chaudhari and Sandeep Narwal