Puneri Paltan climbed to second spot in Zone A by crushing Jaipur Pink Panthers 38-15 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Wednesday. Skipper Deepak Hooda was Pune’s top performer on the night with a game-high 14 points.

A relatively low-scoring first 10 minutes saw Pune manage a 5-3 lead before a successful tackle on Hooda and a successful raid by Jaipur’s Nitin Rawal made it 5-5 in the 11th minute. Akshay Jadhav though raided successfully for Pune and was backed up by his defence in the 13thminute when they pulled off a successful tackle on Jasvir Singh to reopen their two-point lead.

The hosts went on to extend their lead by five points before half-time primarily on the back of some robust tackling. That being said, a crucial do-or-die raid which Hooda completed successfully for his team also played a role in giving Pune a 12-7 lead at the break.

The second period saw the hosts switch gears and take it up a notch or two as they inflicted an All-Out on Jaipur four minutes into the half for an 18-8 lead. Hooda was Pune’s protagonist and wreaked havoc on Jaipur while attacking as well as defending.

Jaipur did try rallying and picked up a few points through Pawan Kumar but the home side still had a 23-11 advantage heading into the last 10 minutes of the match. Hooda then nipped any hope of an unlikely Jaipur comeback in the bud with a brilliant two-point raid that enforced another All-Out on the Panthers and made it 32-12 in favour of the hosts. They saw out the remainder of the match with more conviction in defence and lethalness in offence to trot to a comfortable win.