Tamil Thalaivas ended their debut VIVO Pro Kabaddi campaign with a memorable 40-37 victory over Patna Pirates at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Saturday. Ajay Thakur top-scored for Chennai with 14 points and was supported well by K. Prapanjan (11 points).

Chennai started the match well and raced into a 4-0 lead before the Pirates earned their first point of the night. The Thalaivas then inflicted an All-Out on Patna in just the sixth minute to extend their advantage to 9-2.

Prapanjan and Thakur were having a field day in attack with Patna’s defence finding it increasingly difficult to cope with their potent raiding as the half progressed. The southerners threatened to run away with the contest after inflicting a second All-Out on Patna to take a 25-11 lead in the 16th minute. The Thalaivas went on to add four more unanswered points to their score before heading into the half-time interval happier of the two sides.

Patna’s defence finally made their presence felt three minutes into the second period with a super tackle on Thakur to make the score 29-15. The reigning champions, sensing a shift in momentum, picked up a few quick points but Chennai were still very much in control of the encounter with a 31-20 lead heading into the final quarter of the game.

The Pirates weren’t about to wave goodbye to their top spot chances in Zone B without a fight though and made it interesting with an All-Out on Chennai to reduce the deficit to 34-27 after some excellent raiding by Pardeep Narwal. It looked like Patna were about to complete an incredible comeback, however, a two-point raid by Prapanjan in the 37th minute effectively sealed the defending champions’ fate and gave Chennai the win.

Check out our snapshots from this match here.