Deepak Niwas Hooda produced a terrific performance as Puneri Paltan beat Telugu Titans 40-35 in the playoff to finish third in the Pro Kabaddi League. Rahul Chaudhari’s superlative effort went in vain as he scored 18 points but Telugu Titans fell short in front of a boisterous home crowd.
Nitin Tomar scored Puneri Paltan’s first raid point in the third minute as they led 2-1. Deepak Niwas Hooda scored a raid point as Puneri Paltan led 4-1 after five minutes. Telugu Titans’ raider took a while to get going and couldn’t muster a single raid point in the first five minutes. Sandeep Narwal finally opened Titans’ raid account in seventh minute as his team trailed 2-4 Puneri Paltan inflicted an all out in the eight minute opened a sizeable gap to lead 10-3.
Rahul Chaudhari reached a momentous landmark with a super raid in the ninth minute as he became the first man to score 500 raid points in Pro Kabaddi League. Telugu Titans trailed 7-11 in the 12th minute as Nilesh Salunke got a raid point. The Titans’ defence struggled in the first 15 minutes as they failed to score even a single tackle point.
Telugu Titans’ substitute Athul M forced three Pune defenders off the court and scored three points in the 17th minute to trail 11-16. Rahul Chaudhari scored two raid points in the 20th minute as Telugu Titans went into the break trailing 14-17.
Puneri Paltan began the second with just one man on the court and Telugu Titans made them pay with an all out in the 21st minute to level the game at 17-17. Rahul Chaudhari scored another raid point in the 23rd minute as both teams were tied at 19-19. Telugu Titans took the lead in 25th minute with Chaudhari getting points at will. Puneri Paltan were reduced to just one man in 26th minute but Joginder Narwal scored two points to avert an immediate all out as they trailed 22-23. However, Telugu Titans inflicted the second all out in 27th minute to lead 27-22.
With 10 minutes to go, Telugu Titans led 29-25 and Rahul Chaudhari tormented Puneri Paltan and scored his 13th point. Puneri Paltan came back to level the game at 29-29 after 33 minutes. Puneri Paltan tackled Rahul Chaudhari in the 35th minute. Deepak Niwas Hooda scored two raid points to inflict an all out on Telugu Titans as Puneri Paltan led 34-30 with less than five minutes to go.
Rahul Chaudhari scored two points with two raids as Telugu Titans trailed 32-24 in the 37th minute. With less than three minutes to go, Puneri Paltan led 35-32. Rahul Chaudhari, however, was in scintillating form and scored with a two-point raid in 39th minute as Titans trailed 35-36. Deepak Niwas Hooda came up with a superb raid and got three points in the last minute to give Puneri Paltan 39-35 lead and Titans’ hopes of finishing third evaporated. Puneri Paltan won 40-35 in the end to finish the fourth season of Pro Kabaddi League on a high.
Star Sports Best Raider: Rahul Chaudhari (Telugu Titans – 17 points)
Star Sports Best Defender: Joginder Narwal (Puneri Paltan – 6 points)
Star Sports Moment of the Match: Deepak Niwas Hooda (Puneri Paltan)
Gionee Marathon Man of the Mat: Deepak Niwas Hooda (Puneri Paltan)
State Bank of India Winning Team Captain: Manjeet Chhillar (Puneri Paltan)