Jaipur Pink Panthers turned the contest around in the last 90 seconds to claim a thrilling victory over Bengal Warriors at the Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. Defenders from both teams shone throughout the game, with Jaipur Pink Panthers’ Sandeep Dhull picking up 8 tackle points and Bengal Warriors’ Baldev Singh returning 6 tackle points on the night.
Bengal Warriors raced to a 4-point lead early in the game thanks so some sound raiding by the duo of K. Prapanjan and Maninder Singh. But Jaipur Pink Panthers struck back by sending back Mohammad Nabibakhsh with a successful team tackle and then Corner Baldev Singh through captain Deepak Hooda’s successful raid.
Prapanjan brought all his skills into play after that, first surprising Deepak Hooda with a Toe Touch and then escaping Vishal with a Dubki in his next raid. Down to four men, Jaipur Pink Panthers turned the tides through Captain Deepak Hooda and the defence, managing to reduce Bengal Warriors down to three men, as the game rested on the balance with the score 10-10.
However, Baldev Super Tackled Deepak Narwal and then brought down substitute Ajinkya Pawar in quick succession to give Bengal Warriors a 14-10 advantage going into half time.
Jaipur Pink Panthers started the second half on a positive note, picking up 2 points in the first two minutes. But once Rinku Narwal sent back Deepak Hooda, it halted their march and Bengal Warriors surged ahead by sending back Pawar, Deepak Hooda and Deepak Narwal in quick time before a successful Do-or-Die raid by Prapanjan gave them a 20-15 lead.
Sandeep Dhull, who was on song throughout the night, brought up his High 5 in the 11th minute of the second period to keep Jaipur Pink Panthers in the hunt. Iranian Nabibakhsh then got into the action by initiating a Super Tackle on Narwal to make it a four-point game at 22-18.
Bengal Warriors found their hero in Baldev, who brought up his own High 5 with a strong hold on Deepak Hooda with four minutes left on the clock. However, once Amit Hooda stopped Mohammad Taghi Paein Mahali in his tracks, it opened up the doors for a Bengal Warriors All-Out which gave Jaipur Pink Panthers a 26-24 lead with seconds left on the clock. Captain Deepak Hooda made no mistakes from there as he broke through a tight Bengal Warriors defence in the last raid to give his side a two-point victory.
Jaipur Pink Panthers –
Best Raider – Deepak Hooda (6 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sandeep Dhull (8 Tackle Points)
Bengal Warriors –
Best Raider – K. Prapanjan (7 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Baldev Singh (6 Tackle Points)