Rahul Chaudhari led the charge for Telugu Titans in a brand new season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi as they defeated debutants Tamil Thalaivas 32-27 in front of their adoring fans at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on an action-filled Friday evening. While the Thalaivas showed a spark of brilliance by K Prapanjan and Ajay Thakur, it wasn’t enough for the visitors who went down fighting.

The match started cautiously as the raiders from both sides gauged the opponent’s defence. However, Chaudhari – the league’s very own Raid Machine – soon took the match by the scruff of the neck scoring in consecutive raids. The Thalaivas made a comeback on the back of some superb tackling by C Arun and tied the game at 8-8. The hosts continued their domination, though, inflicting an all-out in the 16th minute and taking a 14-8 lead. They ended the first half with an 18-11 lead.

Thakur’s team rallied hard in the second half but the Titans kept the pressure on, maintaining a consistent lead as Chaudhari was ably assisted by Rakesh Kumar and Nilesh Salunke. Chaudhari reached the first Super 10 and Vishal Bhardwaj recorded the first High 5 of the season as the Thalaivas had no answer for the Titans’ charge. Prapanjan from Tamil Thalaivas put in a valiant effort but it was too little and too late for them to recover.

Looking to continue the winning run, Telugu Titans will now play their second game on Saturday against defending champions Patna Pirates. On the other hand, Tamil Thalaivas will be happy to learn from their debut experience and hope to find their footing when they meet Bengaluru Bulls on August 4.