PKL 8: Maninder Singh helps Bengal beat Tamil, Pune thrash Mumbai
This victory helped Bengal Warriors halt their losing streak while ending Tamil Thalaivas’ unbeaten run.
Defending champions Bengal Warriors beat Tamil Thalaivas 37-28 in Match 51 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8. Captain Maninder Singh got a Super 10 (12 points) while defenders Amit Narwal and Ran Singh controlled the defense.
The victory helped Bengal halt their losing streak in PKL while ending Thalaivas’ unbeaten run. The Tamil attacked blunt with Manjeet, not his usual best and Ajinkya Pawar used sparingly. Bengal and coach B.C. Ramesh will be happy they clinched a win despite a lukewarm performance from their Irani duo of Mohammad Nabibakhsh and Abozar Mighani.
Thalaivas started on the front foot with their defensive combination of Surjeet and Sagar tackling Maninder Singh. That set the tone for the initial minutes with Manjeet raiding sensibly at the other end. But Amit Narwal produced a stunning Super Tackle in the 5th minute to change the balance of power.
The defending champions built on the momentum and quickly reduced the Thalaivas men on the mat. Surjeet produced two Super Tackles to pick up his High 5 but Bengal eventually got their ALL OUT with 7 minutes to the interval. The Thaliavas kept looking at the more proactive side despite trailing and introduced super-sub Ajinkya Pawar to add more fire in the raiding department. The half ended 20-16 in favour of Bengal.
The first 10 minutes of the second half was a cagey affair with both teams playing it safe. Thalaivas couldn’t conjure their usual magic in the defense while Manjeet found it tough in the raids. Bengal maintained a 6-point lead at the first Time Out but it felt only a matter of time before either team tried something ambitious.
Ran Singh, returning to the mat after a long injury layoff, produced a stunning tackle in the left corner for Bengal to spark an ALL OUT. Bengal opened an 11-point lead with 7 minutes remaining as Amit Narwal reached his High 5. The defending champions ensured there were no slip-ups in the dying minutes to win the match comfortably.
Puneri Paltan thrash U Mumba in Maharashtra Derby
Puneri Paltan completely outclassed U Mumba 42-23 in Match 52 of PKL 8. The season’s first Maharashtra Derby belonged to the team from Pune who brought out an all-around performance against a Mumbai side desperately lacking ideas. Left-cover Vishal Bhardwaj and all-rounder Nitin Tomar picked up High 5s for the Pune team who jumped to 10th on the points table.
Mumbai will be left to wonder what they need to do to plug the gap left by injured raider Ajith Kumar. Abhishek Singh has struggled to lead the team in his absence with no other raider stepping up.
The first half of the derby was dominated by Pune with Aslam Inamdar and Nitin Tomar impressing in their raids. After a cautious start to the match, Nitin Tomar produced a stunning 3-point Super Raid in the 13th minute to initiate Pune’s charge for an ALL OUT. They clinched it eventually with 4 minutes to interval and opened a 4-point lead.
Mumbai looked disjointed as a unit, clearly missing V Ajith Kumar’s presence in the raiding department. Abhishek Singh tried his best to help Mumbai stay in touch with their arch-nemesis, but the half ended 18-10 with Pune in the lead.
Pune coach Anup Kumar wanted his team to slow down their raids, but Aslam Inamdar had other plans as he produced a 3-point Super Raid at the start of the second half of this PKL match. Paltan got their second ALL OUT in the 4th minute after the restart as their defence steamrolled the Mumbai raiders.
Pune opened up a 17-point lead with 10 minutes remaining as Vishal Bhardwaj and Baldev Singh ensured their corners remained raid-proof. They got another ALL OUT immediately after the first Time Out as Vishal Bhardwaj picked his High 5.
Cover defender Abinesh Nadarajan also impressed as Pune opened a 21-point lead in the final minutes. The experienced Nitin Tomar picked up a High 5 in the closing stages as Pune won the derby comfortably.