Ajinkya Pawar pulled off a magnificent six-point raid just before the final whistle as Tamil Thalaivas came up trumps 39-31 against Telugu Titans in a battle of two southern teams at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi in Pune on Saturday. Both sides played a neck and neck contest in vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 until Pawar's Super Raid turned the tide towards the Thalaivas.
In a slow burn first half, both teams played cautiously with raiders from both sides not risking much and finding scarce success whenever they did commit fully. It was a display of how committed the two defences were.
The Titans kept the pressure up through the first period, and reduced the Thalaivas to three players for a greater part of the final five minutes of the half. A Super Tackle by Sagar on Abhishek Singh helped the Thalaivas avoid an All-Out the first time. However, on the final raid before half-time, the Titans inflicted the first All-Out of the game after Ajinkya Pawar was tackled by Mohsen Maghsoudlou. Telugu Titans went into the break leading 16-13.
The Titans kicked off the second half in a frenzy. A Super Raid by Siddharth Desai caught out Himanshu, Sahil Gulia and M. Abishek to further extend their lead. From there though, faced with adversity, once again the Thalaivas defence, led by Sagar came into its own. Sagar's second Super Tackle of the game caught Desai, and their resurgence began. A six-point lead was overturned within minutes as the Thalaivas inflicted their own All-Out to take the lead.
The momentum swung the Titans' way again and in the final two minutes the lead never extended beyond two points, keeping everyone on edge. With 90 seconds to go and just one point between the two teams, Ajinkya Pawar's Super Raid caught six Telugu Titans players out to inflict a second All-Out and give the Thalaivas a nine-point lead that they held onto and eventually took the win.
Best Raider - Ajinkya Pawar (11 Raid Points)
Best Defender - Sagar (8 Tackle Points)
Best Raider - Siddharth Desai (14 Raid Points)
Best Defender - Mohsen Maghsoudlou (3 Tackle Points)
Where to watch vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 LIVE?
Catch all the LIVE action from vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 on the Star Sports Network and LIVE streaming on Disney+Hotstar.