ZONE B toppers Bengal Warriors showed their class against Telugu Titans by displaying one of the best comebacks of the season to win 32-31 at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Sonepat on Tuesday. Jang Kun Lee’s 9 points and Surjeet Singh’s High 5 overcame Nilesh Salunke’s Super 10 performance.
The main raiders from both the teams started the proceedings. While Rahul Chaudhari failed to score, Maninder Singh opened the Warriors account with a bonus point. Salunke and Lee also came forth in successive raids to pick up bonuses.
After a calm start, the Titans decided to up their defensive game and only went for the kill in the do-or-die raids. Both Salunke and Mohsen Maghsoudlou were successful in their respective do-or-die raids to take a three-point lead (8-5) by the 10th minute. However, the Warriors were not to be thwarted and they came back strongly with two successive super tackles led by their effervescent captain Surjeet Singh to tie the score at 9 each by the 15th minute.
With Chaudhari maintaining a low profile to ensure he spent the maximum amount of time on the mat, Salunke rose to the occasion to push the Warriors to the brink of an All-Out. In the 18th minute, the Warriors eventually suffered the inevitable. The Titans strategy to keep Maninder off the mat worked as he spent almost 10 minutes off the court and the southerners entered the breather with a 15-12 lead.
Bengal Warriors started the second half with intent as the combination of Maninder and Lee picked up three successive touch points to set the pace of the half and limit the Titans to four men on the mat. Surjeet’s brilliant defensive display continued as he achieved his High 5 in the 25th minute after a single-handed block on Chaudhari.
With 10 minutes into the half and only two points separating the two teams, the match was far from over. However, the Titans surged ahead in 33rd minute holding the hands of none other than Salunke. He pulled off a brilliant super raid which gifted his team four mega points and again took the Warriors to the brink of an All-Out. The Warriors’ second All-Out of the match came a minute later with the scoreline reading 20-30 in the Titans’ favour.
After a time-out, the Warriors came back with gusto and were in no mood to let the match completely slip away. They picked up 8 quick points in a matter of 4 minutes to reduce the margin and take the Titans to the brink of an All-Out. In the 38th minute, the Titans were handed their first All-Out of the match as the Warriors took a one-point lead with a minute to go.
Surjeet’s hurried tackle attempt then ended unsuccessfully and the score read 31 apiece. Everything now depended on Lee, who went in for a do-or-die raid in the dying seconds of the match but came back with flying colours. His touch led to the Warriors winning the match 32-31 - one of the greatest comebacks of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5.
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