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PKL 10: Puneri Paltan's road to final

Published at :March 1, 2024 at 8:05 AM
Modified at :March 1, 2024 at 8:05 AM
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Siddharthan P

Last season’s runner-up will aim to change their luck in the current season.

The Puneri Paltan secured their spot as the first finalists of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 10 (PKL 10) after an emphatic 37-21 victory over three-time winners Patna Pirates at the GMC Balayogi Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday. In what was an all-round performance from the Paltan army, the heroics were led by their able skipper Aslam Inamdar’s 7 raid points as his team will now face off against the winner of Semi-Final 2 on Friday, March 1 in search of their maiden PKL title.

Not just these two all-rounders, but their entire squad has been on the mark right from the word go with dominating performance in all departments. Gaurav Khatri and Abinesh Nadarajan have been rock solid which has threatened the opposition Raiders. The attacking duo of Pankaj Mohite and Mohit Goyat have surreptitiously grown into a dominant force.

With them securing the semis spot, let’s look back at their dominating journey so far.

First Half Of The Season: Dominating start

Puneri Paltan were well prepared as they wanted to instill young blood into the squad. Roping Mohammadreza Chiyanneh and the appointment of Aslam Inamdar as the skipper were perfect examples for their strategy. It was well evident in the first game as they avenged their loss in the season nine finals by beating Jaipur Pink Panthers.

They were impeccable in the first half of the season as they won 10 of their first 11 games. More than the wins, the margins of each game showed how one-sided those victories were. Mohit Goyat and Aslam Inamdar led from the front in stealing points from the opposition side of the mat. Their combination was yielding more than 10 points in each game except against Tamil Thalaivas, which was the only close encounter the men in orange faced in the first half.

Second Half Of The Season: Consolidating journey

At midseason, they were topping the table charts but suddenly suffered a loss of form as they registered only one win in the next four games. Their cover defender Abinesh Nadarajan looked vulnerable to dashes against the Raiders as he scored a mere two points in those four games. But coach BC Ramesh backed him to the tilt as the Tamil Nadu-born player came back to form with a High-Five against Pawan Sehrawat’s Telugu Titans.

With points lacking from Abinesh, Shadloui had to step up and the Iranian did so as his mere presence has troubled the opposition. The tall-corner defender along with Gaurav Khatri ensured the Paltan finished in top-two to directly book their playoff spot. Pankaj Mohite and Mohit Goyat have been under the Radar yet were delivering day in and day out as they have remained unbeaten in the last six games.

Home Leg Performance: One to remember for

The return of the caravan format of the league meant that every team would play four matches on their home turf and Pune was eager to play in front of the home fans. They were in for a shocker with Haryana Steelers and Vinay stopping them. The men in orange ensured no slip-up again as they won the remaining games to move back to the top of the points table.

The win against Bengal Warriors was a huge confidence booster as the Maninder-led side was unbeaten before that game. Mohit top-scored with 35 Raid points but the real star of the show was Shadloui as he scored two High-5s against season six and season seven champions. These three wins was the start of their domination this season and has laid the foundation to go all the way.

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