Led by captain Ajay Thakur’s 12 raid points, Tamil Thalaivas won their first game since the opening night of Season 6 as they beat home team Puneri Paltan by a scoreline of 36-31 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Tuesday.
The opening exchanges saw a cautious approach from both team with neither committing too many men on tackles. In the 7th minute though, Thakur reached a milestone as he got opposition captain Girish Maruti Ernak with a toe touch and reached 600 raid points in VIVO Pro Kabaddi, only the third man ever to reach that mark. With the score at 6-5 in favour of Puneri Paltan, Tamil Thalaivas shifted gears and got five straight points, leaving the opposition with just two men on the mat.
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But as seen in their past two outings, Puneri Paltan’s defence showcased their unmatched ability to get a Super Tackle as they got the big fish Thakur and reduced the deficit back down to one. Jasvir Singh rolled back the years with a brilliant Scorpion Kick to leave a solitary Puneri Paltan player on the mat. Manjeet Chhillar delivered the final blow as he tackled More G B out of bounds and inflicted the first All-Out of the game on Puneri Paltan and take a 15-11 lead in the match. Puneri Paltan fired back and ended the half by scoring four out of the five points as the teams went into the break with Tamil Thalaivas leading 16-15.
Thakur continued his good work in the second half, getting Rinku Narwal and Ernak on his first raid. The rest of the team followed their captain’s lead as they tackled Monu, More and Nitin Tomar in quick succession and coupled with Thakur’s touch point on Ernak, Puneri Paltan were yet again down to just two players on the mat. Jasvir Singh continued his solid night getting a touch point on both Puneri Paltan men to inflict a second All-Out on Puneri Paltan, pushing Tamil Thalaivas’ lead to nine points.
With the score at 32-23 in the 35th minute, it seemed like Tamil Thalaivas had done enough to get a win but Puneri Paltan weren’t about to give up as three Bonus Points on the trot from More and Monu started a run of six unanswered points by the team, reducing Tamil Thalaivas down to just a three-point lead. Jasvir Singh came into his raid with the aim of running the clock down but Puneri Paltan held high-line to deny him the chance to make the raid official by crossing the white line. But the experienced Jasvir managed the situation perfectly and forced the Puneri Paltan defence into making a sub-par tackle, getting two touch points in the process to end any hope of a late comeback.
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Amit Hooda inflicted two massive solo tackles on Tomar and Monu as the clock expired and Tamil Thalaivas won their second game of the campaign.