Pardeep Narwal’s sheer class proved too much for Puneri Paltan to handle as they bowed out of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 with a 32-42 loss in Eliminator 3 against Patna Pirates at the Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday. Narwal’s mammoth 19 points dominated Deepak Hooda’s 9-point effort as the double defending champions entered Qualifier 2 as the favourites to reach the final.
Pune started from where they had left off on Monday by picking up three quick points and sending both Narwal and Monu Goyat packing. But Patna were not be thwarted as Narwal soon returned to continue his onslaught from yesterday’s game to pull off a couple of two-point raids to take Pune to the brink of an All-Out. Hooda put up a fight but Narwal’s sheer dominance handed Pune their first All-Out at the stroke of the first quarter to give Patna a 10-6 lead.
Hooda, however, was in no mood to allow the team’s spirits to dampen and led from the front. Pune’s offence and defence combined brilliantly to tie the score at 12-12 by the 15th-minute mark. Soon after, Pune handed Patna their first All-Out seconds before halftime to take a 6-point lead. Narwal, however, kept the match alive by picking up his Super 10 just before the whistle blew for halftime, with Pune leading 20-13.
Both teams started the second half cautiously. Pune, however, continued their defensive dominance to take out Patna’s three main raiders. Patna tried for a fightback in the absence of their talisman but super-sub Suresh Kumar’s two-point raid in the 25th minute increased Pune’s lead to 8 points. Narwal later picked up a two-point raid to narrow the gap but Pune responded well to enter the last quarter leading 27-18.
Patna, however, were not yet ready to let their title defence hopes slip away. A couple of super tackles on Hooda and Rajesh Mondal coupled by Goyat’s two-point raid reduced the gap to 4 points. But the turning point came when Narwal unleashed his inner beast to pull off a stupendous four-point super raid in the 25th minute to hand Pune their second All-Out for a 31-30 lead. The nerves got the better of Pune in the dying minutes as they succumbed to Patna’s all-round display and fell to another All-Out in the last minute. With a 42-32 win, the defending champions cruise to Qualifier 2 where they will face Bengal Warriors.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.