Puneri Paltan’s storming comeback in the final couple of minutes of the match saw them secure a 34-33 victory over the Telugu Titans on Saturday. Siddharth Desai scored 15 points, while Mohit Goyat came off the bench for the Paltan and finished with nine points.
The first 10 minutes were back-and-forth with only Desai and Aslam Inamdar finding success on offence. The Titans’ star picked up five raid points while the Paltan’s rookie managed three. They also contributed on defence, scoring one tackle point each, as the two teams remained separated by just one on the scoreboard.
With a couple of minutes left in the first half, a precarious situation led to a game-changing moment. Desai went in to raid and slipped while turning, which led to his hand landing in the lobby rendering him out. Unaware of the situation, the Paltan’s defence followed him into the lobby to pin him down, which rendered them out as well.
This led to the Titans earning four points and the Paltan one, with the latter left with just one player on the mat. Telugu’s defence made short work of the last player to inflict the game’s first All Out and give their side a healthy lead.
Desai’s next raid was also a game-changer, but it was more straightforward this time. He tagged a defender and dived across the midline but not before tagging a couple more Paltan defenders, scoring his first Super Raid of the night in the process and giving the Titans a six-point lead at halftime.
The Paltan started the second half brighter and quickly cut the Titans’ lead down to three. Substitute Mohit Goyat then went in for a raid, tagged three defenders and slid his hand across the midline to help the Paltan inflict an All Out. Their defence added a couple of more points to their team’s total, as the Paltan took a 25-22 lead.
With his team pegged on the backfoot, Desai delivered. He picked up his second Super Raid of the night to level the score. A strong tackle from the Titans’ defence left Puneri Paltan down to three on the mat. Desai went in to add to his tally but was pinned down by Vishal Bhardwaj, handing the lead back to the Paltan.
However, the Paltan’s resistance didn’t last long as the Titans’ defence and Desai combined to inflict an All Out to take the lead. In the closing minutes, the Titans adopted a conservative approach, while the Paltan forced the issue, and it was the latter whose tactical tweak worked, as they levelled the score with a minute left.
Inamdar went in for the game’s penultimate raid in a Do-or-die situation and picked up a point to give the Paltan the lead. Substitute Rakesh Gowda tried to level the score by picking up a bonus point, but he cut the black line and thus, wasn’t awarded one, giving the Paltan the victory.
Best Raider – Siddharth Desai (14 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Ruturaj Koravi (2 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Mohit Goyat (9 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Abinesh Nadarajan (5 Tackle Points)