A CLASH OF THE TITANS saw the top two teams in the PKL points table, Jaipur Pink Panthers and Puneri Paltan, vie for the pole position in the league. In the end it was Pune who came out on top, beating Jaipur 28-33 at their own home venue.
Pune started off on a bright note with a clinical chain tackle on Jasvir Singh on the very first raid of the match, getting a danger man off the mat. Jaipur hit back by Rajesh Narwal getting a touch on Manjeet Chillar and Nitin Tomar gettting tackled hard. 2-1.
The game quickly descended into a full-fledged attacking showdown and neither side pulled their punches. But Pune came out swinging first. Ajay Thakur got a point, and the defenders caught Shabeer Bappu. Nitin Tomar and Deepak Niwas ran successful raids and then Tushar Patil of Jaipur was trapped. Before they knew it, Jaipur were looking at a 2-7 deficit, with their numbers on the mat dwindling.
Ajay Kumar ran a 2-point raid for Jaipur then Rajesh Narwal pulled off a super tackle on Nitin Tomar. Pune's lead was now down to 6-7. They replied by trapping Rajesh Narwal and Deepak Niwas getting a tocuh. This reduced Jaipur to only 1 man on the mat: Shabeer Bappu. And he got caught in the next raid after taking the bonus point. The home team was all out, and down 7-12 after 13 minutes of play.
Jasvir Singh got caught again and Deepak Niwas got a touch. Down 7-14, the game was slipping out of Jaipur's hand. The Panthers didn't back down and began to crawl slowly back into the contest, thanks to back to back successful raids by Rajesh Narwal. They trapped Ajay Thakur with Jasvir's super tackle and trapped Manjeet Chillar too. And by half-time, they had return to a fighting deficit of 13-16.
But Pune carried on with their domination in the second half. Deepak Niwas got a touch again while Jaipur's Mahipal Narwal and Rajesh Narwal got caught. The home team's star raider Shabeer got a touch but the visitors' Nitin Tomar hit back with the same. 27 minutes in, the score was 14-20, with Pune still firmly in the lead.
Jasvir Singh's raiding bad form continued as he got caught again. And Pune's Deepak stole ran 3 back to back successful raids. But Ajay Kumar had an answer ready for that. With one raid he got 2 points, and in the next, a super-raid, he managed to get 4 touches. The road in the stadium was deafening, and Jaipur were back within touching distance of their opponents, trailing 21-24.
Pune hit back. Ajay Thakur got a touch and they managed to push Rajesh Narwal out of the lobby with a desperate collective tackle. Jaipur's numbers were dwindling again, and the Paltans moved in for a second all-out swiftly. Deepak got a touch, then lone man Amit Hooda got trapped. Once again, Pune were convincingly in the lead, leading 23-30 with 5 inutes to spare.
And Jaipur's last-minute efforts to make a comeback fell well short. Ajay Kumar ran a good raid and Ajay Thakur got caught, but Shabeer and Rajesh Narwal got trapped, and Manjeet Chillar stole a point to take the game out of the Panthers' hand. It ended 28-33, with Puneri Paltan maintaining their solid form and successfully claiming the top spot of the points table with 19 points from 5 matches.