Jaipur Pink Panthers dished out an all-round show to thrash Gujarat Fortunegiants 31-25 in the Pro-Kabaddi League at the Netaji Indoor Stadium today. Bengal Warriors, meanwhile, extended their solid unbeaten run to three matches by beating Tamil Thaivas 29-25 in a nail-biting second match of the day. With a slender 23-22 lead three minutes before the final whistle, Maninder Singh peaked at the perfect time with a stunning three-point super raid to seal the match for the Warriors. Captain Surjeet Singh brilliantly supported in defence with a stunning thigh-ankle hold on Thivakaran to make scores 27-23 in Bengal’s favour with a minute to go. It was a mere formality from there on to script their second win from three matches at home.
Bengal tied their yesterday’s match against UP as they consolidated their position atop the Zone B standings with 40 points from 11 matches. With a sixth loss in nine outings, the Tamil Nadu side (16) were pushed to bottom. Earlier, Jasvir Singh (six points) led from the front with his super agile raids to script a turnaround just before the half-time for the Jaipur side and hand the Zone A leaders their second defeat on the trot. Pawan Kumar played a perfect ally to his skipper and garnered four raid points.
Credit should also be given to their star defender Somvir Shekhar who foiled Gujarat’s bid for a comeback and logged four points as Jaipur (28) jumped to third place with their fifth win from eight matches. After surging to the top with seven wins, Gujarat (43) suffered their third loss from 12 matches. Pawan Sehrawat and Sukesh Hegde handed Gujarat a 6-2 advantage midway into the first-half. It was about building on their attack and bolstering their defence but the Jaipur captain brought a fine turnaround in front of their cheering star owner Abhishek Bachchan.
Jaipur quietly made progress with Pawan snatching some fine points while their defence too began to flourish foiling Pawan’s incisive attempts to curtail the deficit to 5-7 after 12 minutes. It was their substitute Ajit Singh who grabbed two points with a fine raid in the 17th minute to level the scores eight-all. Known for their solid defence, Gujarat looked complacent in front of Jaipur who engineered their raids and tackles superbly to breach their opponent’s defence.
Captain Jasvir then effected an all-out at the stroke of half-time to trail past Gujarat 13-9 and they went on to make steady progress to take the gamme beyond the reach of the Zone A leaders. Jaipur began well in the second-half with their raiders and attackers combining well, extending their lead to nine points after 26 minutes. It was sheer dominance from the Abhishek Bachchan-owned side who had a 10-point advantage with five minutes to go and did not give Gujarat any room for comeback.