IT WAS TOTAL DOMINATION from the home team Telugu Titans as they literally ran their opponents off the mat, handing Daband Delhi an excruciating 11 point defeat.
Emboldened by the chanting, vociferous home crowd, the Telugu Titans made a strong start to the game with a super raid from Rohit Baliyan that got them 3 points. Within 3 minutes they had taken a 5-0 lead over the visitors Dabang Delhi.
The visitors got off the mark with a two-point raid by Rohit Kumar Chaudhary. But their next raider got trapped by the loaded Titan base. Soon it was Rahul Chaudhari wiping tacklers clean off the mat with another 3 point raid, taking the score up to 12-5.
It was total and consistent domination by the home side. They kept gathering a point a raid and sometimes trapping the Delhi raider and otherwise sitting deep so the Delhi raiders would go back empty-handed. The lead piled up one by one until the scoreline increased to 23-9 with Delhi once again down to one man on the mat. And when Kashiling Adake, the last man standing, came to raid, he was skilfully trapped and the Titans got a second all-out, taking the score up to 26-10 at half-time.
The second half began in the same vein as the first. Rohit Baliyan started with a successful raid for the Titans which they followed up by trapping Delhi raider Surjeet Singh. Delhi got hold of Sukesh Hegde and Kashiling ran a super-crafty 3 point raid to restore some balance but the scorline still read 28-14 and there remained a mountain to climb.
The home team took control again, by getting Pravin Niwale with a super-tackle. Then Kashiling Adake also got trapped. One Sukesh Hegde raid later, the lead rose to 32-14.
But Delhi were giving it their all now. Surjeet Singh got 2 in a raid (including Kashiling who got tapped with his back turned, not paying attention to the raider) and they caught Titans raider Sukesh Hegde in their net. Kashiling came back and got 2 in another raid, and Surjeet Singh followed it up with a massive 4 pointer. Suddenly the Titans' lead was down to 9 points. The scoreboard read 36-27 with 8 minutes to go.
A timeout later, Surjeet Singh continued the marauding on Delhi's vehalf. He ran two successful raids in a row. Rohit Baliyan was the reply the Titans threw at them, running a couple of one pointer raids as well. For good measure, they trapped Surjeet, making the score 40-30 now.
The game was down to the last 4 minutes and it was now or never for Delhi. Kashiling got a point for them, but in the next raid he found himself under a pile of yellow shirts. It was 42-31, with just 3 minutes left. The match was all but won.
The Titans now decided to see the clock out. Sukesh Hegde ate up 28 seconds with his empty raid. Delhi were now desperate and ready to take desperate measures. Ravinder Pahal ran a raid getting a touch and the bonus point. But in the next raid they made an over-zealous lunge at Rohit Baliyan who punished them by getting 2 touches. Then Surjeet Singh ran in too deep and got caught by the Titans. Sukesh Hegde was happy to eat up the seconds with another empty raid, ensuring a 45-34 victory for the Telugu Titans, much to the raucous applause of their home fans.