Star Sports Pro Kabaddi Season 4 Pune Leg Recap: Patna Pirates, Bengaluru Bulls remain unbeaten
The fourth season of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi began in Mumbai amidst much fanfare. Last season’s semi-finalists, Puneri Paltan, were playing their home matches at the NSCI after a last minute venue change and they started the season well with two wins, a draw and a solitary defeat. Patna Pirates continued where they had left off last season and won their only match in Mumbai, handing Pune their only defeat of the leg. U Mumba won their first match but lost the other while Dabang Delhi got their first points of the season with a draw against the Paltan in the final match of the leg.
The inaugural match of the season saw Puneri Paltan beat the Rahul Chaudhari-led Telugu Titans 28-24. Manjeet Chhillar was at his defensive best, scoring 5 defensive points to restrict the Titans’ attacking line-up. New recruits Sandeep Narwal and Vinod put up a good fight but were ultimately undone by the star-studded Paltan side.
The second match of the day saw a repeat of the Season 1 final as U Mumba took on Jaipur Pink Panthers, but unlike that final, it was Anup Kumar’s team who ended up on the winning side (36-34). Rakesh Kumar had a brilliant all-round game, scoring 12 points to ensure former U Mumba raider Shabeer Bappu’s 9-point haul amounted to nothing.
The fans witnessed two contrasting matches on the second day of the leg – a close encounter between Bengal Warriors and Bengaluru Bulls before the Paltan annihilated U Mumba. In a match where the defenders shined, Bulls captain Surender Nada conjured up 5 defensive points and Rohit Kumar picked up his game at the end to help the Bulls edge out the Warriors 24-23.
U Mumba and Puneri Paltan took to the mat as the Maharashtra derby took centre stage right after that nail-biting match. Ajay Thakur showed his quality by amassing 12 points to lead the Paltan to their first ever win over their derby rivals. Anup Kumar, with 9 points, top scored for the 3-time finalists, but he was helpless as U Mumba succumbed to a 19-41 loss.
Bengal Warriors get a win on day 3
The third day saw Bengal Warriors get their first win of the season over last season’s bottom-placed team Dabang Delhi. Meraj Sheykh was the lone shining light for the Eagles, as a brilliant team performance from the Warriors resulted in a 31-23 win for Nilesh Shinde’s men. The defending champions Patna Pirates took to the mat against Pune in the second match of the day. Pardeep Narwal, Surjeet Singh, and Dharmaraj Cheralathan ensured that the Paltan received their first loss of the season as the home team ended the match on the wrong side of a 30-24 scoreline.
The best, however, was saved for the last as Dabang Delhi and Puneri Paltan shared the points in a thrilling 27-27 draw. Both the teams went neck and neck till the end when Deepak Narwal gave the Eagles a 2-point lead. Manjeet Chhillar, however, kept his cool in the end, forcing Dabang Delhi into a do-or-die raid in the buzzer raid of the match. The Paltan captain then took it upon himself to tackle Meraj Sheykh and in the process, ensured the team ended their home leg with a draw.
At the end of the opening leg, Puneri Paltan lead the table with 14 points while Telugu Titans lie at the bottom having mustered just a solitary point. The reigning champions lie just 1 point off second-placed Bengal Warriors, but ahead of Bengaluru Bulls on score difference. U Mumba and Dabang Delhi are closing in on the Bulls while Jaipur avoided the bottom spot thanks to a better score difference than the Titans. The league caravan now moves to Jaipur where the Pink Panthers will be hoping to better their league position.