As the race for the semifinal spots heats up in the third edition of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, the Puneri Paltan took on the Telugu Titans in a highly crucial tie on Day 3 of the Delhi leg.
Both sides came into the game on the backs of solid wins as the side from Pune had beaten the Jaipur Pink Panthers in their previous encounter, while the Titans earned a hard-fought victory against Dabang Delhi.
With a place in the playoffs on the line, both teams gave it their all in the riveting 40 minutes of Kabaddi that ensued.
First half: Puneri Paltan 21-6 Telugu Titans
The game was expected to be a tight one, but it was the Manjeet Chhillar-led side that came out firing all cylinders in the opening minutes. In an astonishing display, the Pune side picked up the first 11 points of the game which included an all out in the 7th minute.
It seemed as if the Titans were caught completely off guard as the Paltan piled on the pressure early on with some supreme defending and expert raiding.
The side from Vizag were dismissed after just seven minutes and it was only in the 9th minute that Sukesh Hegde scored his team’s first point with a touch point.
The margin widened to 15-1, after which it looked as if the tie was already over. However, the Titans fought hard to make a comeback and reduced the deficit to 16-6, partly due to a brilliant raid by skipper Rahul Chaudhari.
They pressed for an all out but were denied spectacularly as the Pune defence brought down Chaudhari in a super tackle situation. A further three points were scored before the break by the Paltan as the scoreline read 21-6 after 20 minutes.
Second half: Puneri Paltan 41-24 Telugu Titans
Puneri Paltan continued their dominance in the second half as well. Rohit Baliyan was tackled by the Pune defence, which was followed by a surrender raid as the Titans suffered their second all out and the score was now 25-6.
Both sides then proceeded to trade blows, and points were scored by both teams with Rohit Baliyan scoring on a couple of his forays.
The Titans were down to three men with the scoreboard reading 31-11 and picked up a couple in a single effort with a fantastic super tackle in the 30th minute.
The men in yellow did their best to fight their way back into the game as Sukesh Hedge picked up three straight points in two successive raids with five minutes to go.
Despite the pressure, the Paltan did well to avoid an all out and even conjured up two super tackles in the final two minutes.
The Telugu Titans will be disappointed after a poor defensive performance as they scored a meagre five tackle points. The Pune skipper Manjeet Chillar led from the front with a fine display that saw him pick up 11 points out of which 8 came in defense.
Each member of the starting lineup contributed to the scoreline for the Paltan, who now have one foot in the semifinals after this impressive victory.