Living dangerously after having dominated their rivals for more than three quarters of the match hosts Puneri Paltan managed to put it 29-27 across the Bengaluru Bulls in the concluding tie of the first leg in Season 3 of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here. For that they have to thank their new find Surendra Singh who contributed 9 raiding points and Captain Manjeet Chhillar. The latter took complete charge in the last four minutes to fashion the win with two raid and one tackle point with a perfect ankle hold.
Puneri Paltan had landed in trouble by allowing their rivals to come back into the match after trailing 10-18 at the break. Bengaluru Bull’s Shrikant Tewthia with a super raid of four points in which he scalped Jasmer Gulia, Manjeet Chhillar and Sachin Shingade plus a bonus point had them in a spot of bother. That act lifted the losers to 17-21 and from then on it was a close fight that resulted in the Bengaluru Bulls tying the scores at 26-26 even after suffering the second all-out of the match at 25-22 in the 31st minute.
For Pune super raider Ajay Thakur was a pale shadow of himself in the second half and had it not been for the heroics of Surendra Singh who managed to keep his side up by at least two to three points till the equalizer from Bengaluru Bulls. Then came the vital rescue act from Manjeet Chhillar, which gave Puneri Paltan their first win of the Pune phase after two nerve-wrecking draws against Patna Pirates and Jaipur Pink Panthers.
The first half saw Puneri Paltan successfully employing their plans as Surendra Singh (5 raid points with a 3-point super raid) did his job admirably and Ajay Thakur too contributed on expected lines. But the Bengaluru Bulls were handicapped by the ineffectiveness of their Captain Surjeet Narwal who couldn’t garner more than three points.
Their second prime raider Amit Rathi had just two and he took no further part in the match after twisting his ankle in early in the second half. Left-corner Prashant Chavan’s poor form exploited to the hilt by Shrikant Tewthia and Deepak Dahiya has piled the worries for Puneri Paltan.
They have managed to climb to the fifth spot in the table with 19 points but an unsure defense will cause them a lot of headaches in the crucial early stages of the second leg. Bengaluru Bulls on the other hand a relatively inexperienced side have 12 points and their chances are receding by every match.