Playing like true champions, Jaipur Pink Panthers recorded their first win of Season 2 of Star Pro Kabaddi today at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium beating Bengaluru Bulls 36-23. The hero was their superbly built raider Kuldeep Singh who came up with a super raid in which he claimed four victims. This was confirmed by the referral wasted by the Bulls. With this win, the Panthers with eight points go to the fifth position while Bengaluru remain third with 20 points.
After being down at one stage at 9-14 after suffering an all-out, the Panthers came back roaring to score 10 points in a row to dismiss their rivals and troop away at half-time assuring their vociferous fans of a likely revival.
It was an excellent team effort after the Jaipur coach K Bhaskaran decided to substitute his captain Navneet Gautam who somehow failed to raise his performance. As has been their strategy, the Panthers relied on Jasvir Singh who though subdued for some time early on came up with a moment of brilliance. He effected the raid which fetched the first all-out by getting the last two on court to earn four points. The old guard in Ran Singh and the masked man Rohit Rana also got back in business and negated the threat of Ajay Thakur and Manjeet Chhillar who sadly were also off colour. The duo tallied just 4points between them in 23 raids which tells the true story.
To add to the worry of the Bulls, Gangadhari Mallesh, manning the left corner in place of Navneet, proved more than a handful. The pocket-sized dynamo Prashant Chavan also pulled up his socks which resulted in the defending champions effecting the second all-out to lead 32-21 by the 35th minute. Bengaluru threw in the last dice bringing in the tall Rakesh Narwal and Pardeep Narwal, hoping to net in some raiding and bonus points but it never rolled in their favour. Bengaluru’s efforts to whittle down the margin to less than seven and pocket a valuable point also failed.
Manjeet Chhillar, in a pre-match chat, had talked about his strong defence but it didn’t click on the day. On the other hand, Navneet had stressed the importance of improvement in that department and it did come with Navneet himself having to go off to accommodate Gangadhari Mallesh. The move having worked favourably the Panthers can hope to get the better of the Delhi Dabangs and move on to Patna with their side in high spirits.
Later on in the post-match press conference, Navneet was asked whether he felt bad about not participating much in the match. He went on to say, “A good team is a team that transforms its weaknesses into strengths. If there was a weakness in defence earlier, that was wiped out today. Even though I was sitting on the bench and cheering for the team from there, that doesn’t matter because they won in a fantastic manner. Like I said yesterday, this is sport and you have good days and bad days. Today was a very good day for our team and they played beyond the limits of sport. “
Man of the match and star raider Jasvir Singh was ecstatic during his answers. “This win is all because of our captain Navneet Gautam. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t able to play the full match today because he was there with us, supporting and cheering us from the bench throughout the match. A captain doesn’t have to be on court to win. He needs to be able to support and guide his team from wherever he is and today Navneet was the perfect example for that. All the strategies that we used today to win were his idea and I can say with confidence that he is the best captain a team can have. He is also the best captain across all 8 teams.”
MATCH 19 – JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS VS BENGALURU BULLS
TVS BEST RAIDER OF THE MATCH
JASVIR SINGH (JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS)
BAJAJ ELECTRICAL INSPIRING DEFENDER OF THE MATCH
ROHIT RANA (JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS)
JIO CHAT MOMENT OF THE MATCH
KULDEEP SINGH (JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS)
VIP FRENCHIE BIG IMPRESSION PLAYER OF THE MATCH
GANGADHRI MALLESH (JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS)
FLIPKART AUDIENCE KI WISH PLAYER OF THE MATCH
JASVIR SINGH (JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS