Puneri Paltan jumped to the second spot with 42 points 12 games in Season 3 of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi with an easy 44-27 victory over Bengaluru Bulls. Their big guns, Manjeet Chhillar and Ajay Thakur fired when required to bring their team closer to qualification to the knockouts.
Puneri Paltan however, had to ward off the early threat from their rivals who inflicted upon them an all-out. It came in the 10th minute. The losers went up 10-4 at that time and it seemed that the absence of their captain Surjeet Narwal may not hurt them. Deepak Dahiya had got a super raid of three prior to the all-out. But Ajay Thakur who wasn’t in the best of form turned the corner with a super raid in the 19th minute. He dragged three defenders with him to the midline.
The Puneri Paltan defence too started functioning well and Surjeet Narwal (Service) made two crucial tackles on Deepak Dahiya and Pawan Kumar that resulted in a handy 19-13 lead at the break. In between, the winners had their rivals all-out in the 16th minute. This came due to the combined efforts of the captain Manjeet Chhillar who had two precious points from his precise raids and Ajay Thakur their five-star raider.
The second half was also closely fought till the 32nd minute with the winners leading 24-21, but the inevitable second all-out came in the 35th minute and Puneri Paltan raced away to a well-crafted win. It was the genius of Ajay Thakur again, that decisively tilted the match in his team’s favour. From 24-21 the Puneri Paltan went up to 28-21 and the all-out made it 33-23 leaving the Bengaluru Bulls side gasping to catch up.
The Puneri Paltan scorecard reading, Manjeet Chhillar 8 points, Ajay Thakur 7, Surjeet Narwal 6, Surendra Singh 5, Deepak Hooda 4 which speaks eloquently about the combined effort by the team. Tushar Patil with 2 and substitute Yogesh Hooda who came in for just one raid scored a bonus.
Only Deepak Dahiya kept the Bengaluru flag flying with 7 raid points. His flying and diving hand touches were a treat to watch. But he lacked support and that pushed his team to its eleventh defeat in their penultimate game of the league.