Puneri Paltan finished 3rd by beating fellow semi-final debutants Bengal Warriors 31-27. With this win, they took a 4-3 lead in the overall head to head between the two teams. Jang Kun Lee’s 9 points went in vain as Deepak Niwas Hooda scored 9 points to slay the Warriors.
Bengal Warriors came roaring out of the blocks and raced to a 4-0 lead and reduced Puneri Paltan to just 3 men. However, Manjeet Chhillar stopped Jang Kun Lee in a super tackle to open his team’s account and change the momentum in their favour. Deepak Niwas Hooda returned successfully from both his raids as they took the lead 5-4 by the 11th minute to get the Warriors on the verge of an all out.
Mahendra Singh Rajput restored parity and Bajirao Hodage put Bengal in the lead with a super tackle on Deepak. However, Ajay Thakur and Manjeet completed the all out on the Warriors in the 16th minute as Pune led 11-7.
The star of the half, Deepak Hooda, continued his good form and rounded off the half with 3 points in 2 raids as the Paltan led the Warriors by 7 points at the break.
HT: Bengal Warriors 8-15 Puneri Paltan
The second half began with just 3 Warriors on the mat, but they levelled the numbers’ count through a super tackle and a successful raid. Nilesh Shinde pushed Deepak off the mat while Jang Kun Lee got the Paltan captain Manjeet Chhillar out with an acrobatic raid to reduce their deficit to just 5 points. However, the Paltan struck back and inflicted an all out on their opponents in the 28th minute increase their lead to double digits.
With the score at 22-11, most teams would have wilted and folded away, but not the team from Kolkata! Jang Kun Lee started the comeback by winning 8 points in 6 minutes for his team as Bengal Warriors completed an all out on Puneri Paltan and reduced the deficit to just 3 points.
With 5 minutes to go, the Paltan led by 4 points, but Bengal had just 4 men on the court. The Paltan increased their lead to 6 points in the 38th minute, but Bajirao Hodage and Lee combined to bring down Deepak in a super tackle. However, the Paltan held on in the final minute to win by 4 points to ensure a podium finish for the first time in their history.
FT: Bengal Warriors 27-31 Puneri Paltan