PUNJAB ROYALS climbed to the joint second spot with a 5-2 victory over Haryana Hammers in a Pro Wrestling League (PWL) contest at the KD Jhadav Wrestling Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday evening.
Punjab, who were at the fourth spot before Tuesday's match, have thus joined Haryana at the second spot with six points in their kitty and strengthened their claim for a place in the semi-finals.
Punjab have played five matches so far while the Hammers -- who suffered their first defeat of the tournament -- have played four. Tuesday's defeat will not affect the Hammers' prospects as they had already secured a spot in the last four stage.
Jarsaikhan Chuluungbat of Punjab continued his good performance in the PWL as he clinched the men's 125kg bout in just 37 seconds, defeating Hitender of Haryana by fall.
Haryana restored parity when Nirmal Devi (women's 48kg) defeated Punjab's Yana Rattigan 6-3 to record her first win in the PWL. Up 4-1 at the end of the opening round, Devi continued her domination in the second round, using the leg hold to bring down her opponent and take a couple of points.
Yana produced a successful tackle towards the end, but it would not be enough.
Punjab regained the lead as reigning World Champion Vladimir Khinchegashvili (men's 57kg) maintained his all-win record by defeating Nitin Rathee of Haryana 6-1.
The Georgian used the single leg hold to take the lead in the first round.
Although Nitin managed to take one point to reduce the gap to 1-2 at the break, Vladimir displayed superb technique and quickness in the second round to underline his dominance.
Geeta Phogat extended Punjab's lead when she shocked the PWL's costliest wrestler Oksana Herhel of Haryana 8-6 in the women's 58kg section.
Both wrestlers were evenly matched in a hard fought first round. Geeta managed to take the lead when the Passivity rule was invoked against Oksana for excessive defending. But Oksana fought back to lead 2-1 at the break.
The second round was an exciting affair as the lead changed hands a couple of times. Trailing 6-7 with seconds to go, Geeta snatched victory from the jaws of defeat when she snatched two points with a leg hold.
Punjab's Mausam Khatri gave his side an unassailable 4-1 lead when he overpowered Yuri Maier by technical superiority (12-1) in the men's 97kg category.
Khatri took a 4-0 lead over his Argentinian opponent with the Fitley move.
Up 6-1 at the end of the opening round, Khatri produced a lighting quick counter-attack in the second period to take a convincing win.
Vasilisa Marzaliuk (women's 69kg) reinforced Punjab's domination by defeating Haryana's Geetika Jakhar 7-0.
Captain and icon player Yogeshwar Dutt dispelled some of the gloom for Haryana by defeating Punjab's Rajneesh 6-3 in the men's 65kg division.
The Punjab wrestler drew first blood, bringing down Yogeshwar to take a 2-0 lead.
But Yogeshwar used the single leg hold to restore parity before taking a 4-2 lead at the break.
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist used his superior technique and experience to dominate the second round and carve out a convincing win.