A spectacular performance from raider Nitin Tomar coupled with High 5s from Surjeet Singh and Balasaheb Jadhav helped Puneri Paltan kickstart their home leg win an impressive 43-33 victory over Gujarat Fortunegiants at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Balewadi in Pune on Saturday.
The home side were off to a flyer, as Nitin Tomar’s excellence in attack coupled with some solid defending from Surjeet Singh and Girish Maruti Ernak helped them race to a 6-0 lead. Gujarat Fortunegiants finally managed to get on the scoreboard with a Super Tackle but Puneri Paltan remained relentless and drove home their advantage to inflict the All-Out a couple of minutes later to take an 11-3 lead.
The next few minutes were evenly contested and saw both teams add four points to their score, but the final five minutes of the half belonged to the home side. Raiders Manjeet and Tomar, and all-rounder Hadi Tajik added four unanswered points to the team’s total as Puneri Paltan looked to inflict another All-Out. Rohit Gulia and Sunil Kumar helped Gujarat Fortunegiants curb Puneri Paltan’s run, but the home side scored five further points before the whistle to go into the break with a 14-point lead.
In the very first raid of the half, Puneri Paltan inflicted a second All-Out and extended their lead to 17. Seven minutes into the half, the two teams remained separated by 17 on the scoreboard but a run of four straight points for Gujarat Fortunegiants helped them reduce Puneri Paltan down to three, sparking hopes of a comeback. However, two Super Tackles from Balasabeh Jadhav within a span two minutes ensured that the home side maintain a sizeable advantage over the visitors.
Gujarat Fortunegiants continued to push and their efforts finally paid off, as they inflicted an All-Out on Puneri Paltan and cut the deficit to 10 points. Post the All-Out, Puneri Paltan quickly added two more points to their score through Surjeet and Tomar, but Gulia helped the visitors cut the deficit back down to 10. Tomar’s two-point raid in the penultimate minute put the game beyond Gujarat Fortunegiants, but the visitors continued to rally in an effort to earn at least a point from the contest. Sachin and Gulia added a point each but it was too little too late as Puneri Paltan held on to win by 10 points.
Best Raider – Nitin Tomar (11 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Balasaheb Jadhav (5 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Sachin (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Parvesh Bhainswal (3 Tackle Points)