Puneri Paltan display nerves of steel to edge Bengaluru Bulls 37-35

Puneri Paltan raider Mohit Goyat collects a point

Leading for the majority of the contest, Puneri Paltan displayed nerves of steel to edge the Bengaluru Bulls 37-35 in a thrilling encounter at Match No. 70 of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Convention Center in Bengaluru.

Aslam Inamdar lifted Puneri Paltans’ curtains with a bonus in the first raid, while Pawan Sehrawat tagged Aslam with a roundhouse kick to open Bengaluru’s account. Sombir kept the Hi-Flying Pawan to the ground with an ankle-hold while Aslam replied with a touchpoint to give Pune a mini two-point lead.

The advantage didn’t last long as the Bulls quickly equalized the proceedings through Chandran Ranjit’s bonus and Aman’s tackle on Aslam. However, Puneri Paltan made the most of the momentum as Mohit Goyat dived just in time to bag two touchpoints and restrict Bengaluru to only two players.

Mohit won another touchpoint in his next raid but Deepak Narwal escaped from a tackle attempt to aid Bengaluru in surviving an All-Out. However, Mohit got a faint touch on the fabric of a defender’s jersey and reviewed it correctly to begin the procession for Pune.

Bengaluru’s last man Pawan collected a bonus but ran straight into the right corner Sombir as Puneri Paltan inflicted the first All-Out. The scoreline read 13-10 with little more than six minutes left in the first half.

It took only two minutes for a resurgent Bengaluru to level the scoreline before Pawan crawled his way back to the mid-line to gain momentum for his side.

However, Mohit’s presence of mind to pick two touchpoints in the final five seconds of his Do-or-Die raid turned the tables again. Tackling Bharat with an ankle-hold in the dying embers of the first half, the Paltans went into the break with a 16-15 lead.

Aslam Inamdar aided Puneri Paltan in their win over Bengaluru Bulls

Aslam Inamdar aided Puneri Paltan in their win over Bengaluru Bulls

The Pune defense laid a trap by allowing Pawan to pick up a bonus but the defenders circled him from all sides to hunt down the Bengaluru captain. Mohit escaped from the touches of two defenders in his Do-or-Die raid while all seven Pune players pounced on Mahender Singh to inflict a second All-Out.

Puneri Paltan took a 22-17 lead as the Bulls found themselves a mountain to climb. Nitin Tomar picked up two touchpoints while Mohit’s vicious ankle-hold on Pawan extended the lead to seven points.

Bengaluru reduced the deficit to five points but Pune’s left corner Karamvir initiated a crunching back-hold on Pawan. A lackluster Bengaluru defensive unit, which had only four tackle points until then, ‘Super Tackled’ Aslam to rejuvenate their hopes.

Aman’s tackle point revived Pawan but the latter found himself on the bench immediately after all the Pune defenders piled their bodies on him. Aslam’s extended hand touch nearly wrapped the game for Pune but he slipped into the lobby without touch in his next raid.

With the lead down to three points and a little more than a minute of play left, Bengaluru’s Bharat bagged a touchpoint by leaping over Sombir. Saurabh Nandal’s ankle-hold on Nitin Tomar from the right corner position almost trimmed the lead to one point but a successful review helped the Puneri captain bag a bonus and keep the margin intact to two.

Pawan surged forward in a 3 vs 1 position and returned with a touchpoint to complete a ‘Super 10’ and make it a one-point game. However, the Bengaluru skipper became too excited and attempted a solo dash on substitute Shubham Shelke to award the latter a touchpoint. Bharat replied with a quick touchpoint for the Bulls but it was too little, too late.

The Bulls played a high line trying their best to prevent Mohit from crossing the baulk line. However, the Puneri raider returned with a touchpoint to complete his ‘Super 10’ in the final raid of the contest. Puneri Paltan won the tie by a 37-35 margin to return to winning ways after suffering two back-to-back defeats.

Despite the win, Anup Kumar’s side stayed rooted to the eleventh spot with 27 points from 11 matches. They will lock horns against Dabang Delhi on Monday and will be eyeing another victory over a side in the top two.

Bengaluru Bulls lost thrice from as many matches and squandered the opportunity to go to the top. They have 41 points from 13 matches and will square off against Telugu Titans on Sunday in an attempt to revive their campaign.