DEFENDING CHAMPIONS Patna Pirates effectively blew the advantage they had built up with back to back wins in PKL 4 when they lost to Jaipur Pink Panthers 21-26 on the last night of their home leg.
The Pink Panthers took an early lead through successful raids from Shabeer Bapu and the capture of Rajesh Mondal, and although Pardeep Narwal's back to back successful raids brought the home team back level and the scores progressed parallelly for the first 15 minutes, the Panthers slowly built a lead through raids from Ajay Kumar and the trapping of the likes of Pardeep Narwal and Kuldeep Singh. At half-time, they had a lead of 10-12.
Whle the number of panthers was dwindling, they striked back with a super tackle on Pardeep early in the second haf, then captured Rajesh again to open up a definitive gap. Now the Pirates put super tackles on Rajesh Narwal and Mahipal Narwal and later captured Ajay Kumar to level the score at 17-17, but the Panthers defenders were ready for yet another surge.
They put back to back super tackles on Pardeep Narwal, Rajesh Mondal and Kuldeep Singh. They also captured Pardeep again, followed by Kuldeep Singh. And a cushion of 5 points opened up again that Patna could not close down. The Panthers were victorious 21-26.
It seemed that the Pirates, after playing their hearts out in the first five games, were falling prey to the fatigue of playing on four nights in a row. They are still at the top of the table with 26 points from 7 matches, but the advantage their winning streak had built up is lost. They will hope that the rest they get over the next few days will help them to bounce back.