Pankaj Mohite’s career-best raiding performance, backed by Surjeet Singh and Sagar Krishna’s High 5s, gave Puneri Paltan a 42-38 victory in their last home game at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Balewadi in Pune on Friday. Mohite was unstoppable on the night and was tackled just once in the entire match.
Though Bengaluru Bulls took an early lead in the contest, Puneri Paltan’s defence brought their team back through some robust tackles to send back ‘Hi-Flyer’ Pawan Sehrawat and Rohit Kumar. Pankaj Mohite’s Super Raid then ushered in an All Out on Bengaluru Bulls as Puneri Paltan claimed a 10-6 lead.
Mohite and the Puneri Paltan defence kept picking up points to maintain their lead before Rohit Kumar struck back with a Super Raid of his own to bring the score difference down to three. However, Darshan Kadian sent him back in his next raid and Mohite followed that up with a two-point raid to put Puneri Paltan back in the driver’s seat.
Surjeet Singh reached his High 5 with a tackle on Sherawat in the 16th minute and Rohit scored back-to-back successful raids as the score difference remained at 5 and Puneri Paltan led 20-15 at halftime.
Mohite reached his Super 10 in his first raid of the second half and Hadi Tajik sent Rohit to the bench soon after. Another two successful raids by Mohite then brought on the All Out on Bengaluru Bulls once again to push Puneri Paltan’s lead to 11 points.
Sehrawat found some momentum once the team reassembled on the mat and put in three successive successful raids including one where he got touches on Surjeet and Tajik, as Bengaluru Bulls cut the score difference to six. Rohit also reached his Super 10 with a two-point raid soon after to bring Puneri Paltan down to three men on the mat.
However, Sagar Krishna Super Tackled Rohit twice in quick succession to bring up his High 5 and keep Bengaluru Bulls from inflicting the All Out. The defender put in another Super Tackle on Sherawat after that before finally being sent to the bench by Sumit Singh with 5 minutes still left to play.
Sehrawat put in four more successful raids in quick succession to reach his Super 10 but Pankaj Mohite matched him point-for-point to keep Bengaluru Bulls from inflicting the All Out. However, the All Out was finally inflicted in the 18th minute as Bengaluru Bulls tackled Mohite for the first time in the match to cut the deficit to six.
Rohit’s two-point raid brought the difference down to four; and it stayed there as the final whistle was blown, signalling a win for the home side.
Best Raider – Pankaj Mohite (17 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sagar Krishna (7 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Rohit Kumar (14 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Mahender Singh (2 Tackle Points)