The Bengal Warriors and UP Yoddhas played out a thrilling draw in a 2023-24 Pro Kabaddi League match, while a young Puneri Paltan outfit got the better of more experienced Dabang Delhi team on Monday, at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.

The contest between the Warriors and Yoddhas ended at 37-37, with the latter’s Surender Gill scoring 18 raid points in the evening. Nitin Kumar scored a super ten for Bengal Warriors, while their skipper Maninder Singh notched up nine points.

Interestingly, this was the second tied game of the season and the Warriors have been a part of both matches.

As the scoreline suggested, there was hardly anything to separate the two sides all through the game. Gill got the UP Yoddhas going with a super raid, while Warriors struck back through Singh and Kumar.

Pardeep Narwal, the Yoddhas skipper, had to wait as long as 12 minutes to get his first point as the UP Yoddhas began to sneak ahead.

The Yoddhas were reduced to four men a couple of times, but the Warriors raiders failed to capitalize. A couple of sharp tackles from Nitesh on Singh and bonus points from Vijay Malik powered the Yoddhas to a four-point lead at 18-14 at the end of the first-half.

The game truly came alive in the second half when Gurdeep produced an ankle hold to stop Singh and claim a super tackle. The Yoddhas led 21-17 at this point, but that was short-lived as Shrikant Jadhav got a much-needed all out for the Warriors.

Going up against a defence of two, Jadhav darted across the mat before forcing Nitesh into the lobby and then tagging Harendra Kumar to give his side a slender lead at 24-23.

However, Gill gave the Warriors little time to celebrate as he struck back with a super raid that put his side ahead and brought up his super ten.

The raider grew from strength to strength thereon and the Yoddhas rode on his raiding prowess to reduce the Warriors down to one man before Nitin was flattened on the mat. With five minutes to go, the Yoddhas led 35-30.

As was the theme of the game, the Warriors fought their way back through some resolute defending and key raid points from Singh. Nitin, the Warriors’ best player on the evening, scalped two crucial points to make it 36-36, but both sides picked up a point each in the final minute to share the spoils.

Paltan beat Dabang Delhi

Later, the Puneri Paltan beat Dabang Delhi 30-23 in a low-scoring affair with the two defensive units combining for a total of 17 points in the contest.

Paltan stormed out of the blocks, into an early lead and with Delhi missing their talisman Naveen Kumar, the going looked grim. With their numbers swiftly dwindling, it came down to a brilliant raid and then a super tackle by Yogesh to hold the barrage. Eventually, though Dabang Delhi produced an all out to take a 13-8 lead.

The two teams were evenly matched defensively, but Naveen’s absence showed in the lack of raid points Dabang Delhi were able to accumulate. For Paltan, Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat logged six points each as they went into the break leading 18-12.

Recognising their weakness on the raid, Delhi tightened up in defence early in the second half, steadily gaining back points with stout defending that forced the Paltan to take more risks or go empty-handed.

The game turned into a defensive tactical masterclass with raid points coming at a premium – a mere 11 raid points came through the second-half – as Paltan matched Delhi’s defensive grit toe to toe.

Despite going down to three players at a time, Pankaj Mohite’s super tackle pulled Puneri Paltan out of trouble as they took a gritty, and deserved victory.