A heroic four-point raid from V Ajith Kumar as the sole man on the mat for Tamil Thalaivas helped the home side salvage a 31-31 tie after an intense battle with Puneri Paltan at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.
A collective effort from the defence and offence helped Tamil Thalaivas race to a 5-2 lead. However, Nitin Tomar’s first raid point of the night followed by skipper Surjeet Singh’s successful tackle on Ajith cut Puneri Paltan’s deficit to one. Manjeet’s two-point raid followed by another point each from Surjeet and Tomar capped off a run of six successive points for Puneri Paltan that reduced Tamil Thalaivas to just one man on the mat. Puneri Paltan’s defence then made no mistake in tackling the raider and inflicting the All-Out to take a 11-6 lead in the contest.
Tamil Thalaivas responded well to the All-Out and scored four of the next five points to cut Puneri Paltan’s lead down to two. But Puneri Paltan fired back with three unanswered points of their own from Pankaj Mohite and Manjeet in attack as well as a tackle point from Girish Maruti Ernak, to push their lead back to five. Two tackle points from Ran Singh, split by a raid point from Ajith, helped the home side finish the half strongly as the teams headed into the half-time break with Puneri Paltan leading 15-13.
Just like the first half, Tamil Thalaivas started the second period strongly and made light work of Puneri Paltan’s three men on the mat to inflict an All-Out in under two minutes and take a two-point lead in the contest. The two teams went back-and-forth over the next six minutes, however, a run of two successive points for Puneri Paltan, courtesy of Surjeet and Manjeet, helped the visitors level the score. Both raiding units went on to match each other point-for-point over the next six minutes, leaving the game evenly poised at 24-24 with just over five minutes left in the contest.
Puneri Paltan then seized the initiative and outscored Tamil Thalaivas 5-1 over the next couple of minutes to not only take a four-point lead, but also reduce the home side to just a solitary man on the mat. But in an unexpected twist, the sole man, Ajith managed a four-point Super Raid, reviving three players and also levelling the score at 29-29.
Tamil Thalaivas’ defence added another point to their total while also reducing Puneri Paltan down to just three. However, in another twist in the tale, Puneri Paltan’s three-man defence Super Tackled Rahul Chaudhari to take a slender one-point lead with only enough time for just another Do-or-die raid. Manjeet went in for the game’s final raid and in his attempts to score a touch point ventured too deep into the opposition half and was tackled by defender Vineet Sharma, thus ending the game in a tie.
Tamil Thalaivas –
Best Raider – V Ajith Kumar (8 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Ran Singh (4 Tackle Points)
Puneri Paltan –
Best Raider – Pankaj Mohite (7 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Surjeet Singh (7 Tackle Points)