Two points in the final 30 seconds of the game helped Jaipur Pink Panthers secure a 34-34 tie against Tamil Thalaivas. The raiders dominated the game, with Pink Panthers’ Arjun Deshwal and Thalaivas duo Manjeet and Ajinkya Pawar recording Super 10s. The result meant both teams finished the night outside the top 6, but they do have a game in hand over the Bengal Warriors, who currently occupy the sixth and final playoff spot.
Neither team allowed the other an inch in the opening few minutes, with both teams exchanging points back-and-forth to stay close on the scoreboard. Manjeet delivered the game’s first big moment, a Super Raid that sent three Pink Panthers players to the bench.
The Pink Panthers drew level with a stroke of luck, as Nitin Rawal entered the lobby with a touch and was chased out of bounds by three Thalaivas players, rendering them all out, giving Jaipur three points and Tamil one. No sooner had Manjeet’s touch point revived a defender, Deshwal sent a couple back to the bench with a two-point raid to leave the Thalaivas with just three on the mat.
But the trio proved to be a handful as they combined to Super Tackle Deshwal and curb the Pink Panthers’ surge. Manjeet added a touch point to his team’s tally, and Pawar one-upped with his teammate with a two-point raid, which swung the tide in the Thalaivas’ favour.
Pawar easily escaped a tackle attempt from Sandeep Dhull to reduce the Pink Panthers to a solitary man. The Thalaivas’ defence made no mistake in pinning the raider down in the subsequent raid to inflict the game’s first All Out and take an 18-13 lead.
The Pink Panthers capped off the half with a 5-2 run, courtesy of some strong work on offence and defence to go into the break trailing by just two.
Jaipur carried the momentum into the second half as Deshwal helped himself to a few more raid points to leave the Thalaivas with just Pawar on the mat. The raider kept the All Out at bay with a two-point raid, but Deshwal needed just two raids to score a touch point off both defenders to help the Pink Panthers inflict an All Out and cut the Thalaivas’ lead to one.
The two teams split the next six points evenly as the Thalaivas hung onto their one-point lead. Deshwal levelled the score with an exquisite toe touch on Surjeet Singh but saw his team trail again, courtesy of a stellar Running Hand Touch by Pawar.
Sandeep Dhull’s immaculate Ankle Hold on Manjeet left the raider immobile, which levelled the scores at 32-32. Sahil Singh responded to Dhull’s excellent tackle with a stellar Double Thigh Hold on Deshwal, which helped the Thalaivas reclaim the lead. The defence came to the fore again, pinning down Brijendra Chaudhary to extend the Thalaivas’ lead to two.
With less than a minute left, the Pink Panthers needed a moment of brilliance to save the game, and Dhull provided it, tackling down Pawar to cut the Thalaivas lead to one. In the game’s final raid, the Thalaivas played a high line to deny Nitin Rawal the bonus, but the all-rounder did not need it, as he escaped Sahil Singh’s Thigh Hold attempt to score a point and save the game for the Pink Panthers.
Jaipur Pink Panthers
Best Raider – Arjun Deshwal (15 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sandeep Dhull (3 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Ajinkya Pawar (13 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Ajinkya Pawar (2 Tackle Points)