Puneri Paltan registered their first-ever VIVO Pro Kabaddi win (47-42) against double defending champions Patna Pirates at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Lucknow on Sunday. Though Pardeep Narwal scored a whopping 19 points, a complete show from the Paltan, led by Rajesh Mondal (Super 10) and Deepak Hooda (9 points), handed Patna their first defeat of Season 5.
Hooda won the toss, while Pardeep opened the proceedings for the evening. Both the in-form teams looked cautious from the very start and collected their first points through do-or-die raids. After the initial few minutes, Puneri Paltan unleashed their inner beast to ensure neither Pardeep nor Monu Goyat could manoeuvre the Patna ship properly.
Sandeep Narwal again showcased blistering form as Pune handed Patna their first All-Out of the match in the 8th minute. However, the Paltan were in no mood to breathe easy as they immediately switched on their defensive game and again handed the Pirates their second All-Out of the match just five minutes later, with the scoreline reading 21-7 in their favour.
In the closing moments of the first half, Pardeep, who had already spent more than 10 minutes off the court, provided some wind to the Patna sails by collecting quick raid points to reduce the margin and end the half trailing 13-25.
At the start of the second half, Pune just had three players on the mat, which came down to one within a minute. Monu, who was introduced as a substitute, however was in no mood to give in as he scored a super raid to pull Pune back.
But the inevitable eventually came as Puneri Paltan fell to their first All-Out in the 24th minute, with Pardeep picking up his fourth Super 10 of the season to reduce the gap to 25-36. Another Pardeep super raid followed where he took out the defensive duo of Sandeep and Dharmaraj Cheralathan in one clean swoop. The Pirates were in full flow and handed Pune their second All-Out to take the scoreline to 36-41 in the 37th minute.
With three minutes remaining on the clock, Pune’s strategy changed to wasting time and attacking only in the do-or-die raids, where Mondal was the star. Pune’s Bangladeshi defender Ziaur Rahman also registered a High 5 to play a big role in the win. Substitute Vikas Jaglan was sent in for the last raid of the match by Patna and he scored a super raid to ensure Patna added a single point to their points tally.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.