Reigning champions Jaipur Pink Panthers and the young Puneri Paltan outfit registered comprehensive victories against UP Yoddhas and Bengaluru Bulls in their respective 2023-24 Pro Kabaddi League matches in Pune on Wednesday.

The Pink Panthers gave an incredible account of themselves as they stormed to a 41-24 triumph over the Yoddhas thanks to Arjun Deshwal, who got back to his scoring ways with 13 points.

Both teams got off to a cautious start, with the Panthers narrowly leading 6-5 after the first ten minutes. Deshwal then made light work of the Yoddhas’ defence and Panthers’ captain Sunil Kumar produced a brilliant tackle on Vijay Malik to bag an all out in the next four minutes to turn the tide.

The Panthers raced to an 11-6 lead and went on to seize control of the game.

Deshwal got rid of four defenders in as many raids and a couple of sharp tackles saw the Panthers inflict a second all out before the end of the first-half. The scoreline read 20-7 in the Panthers’ favour and the Yoddhas were completely undone.

The defending champions went into the break with a 15-point advantage at 24-9 and they were in complete control of the match.

The Yoddhas gained momentum in the second half via two tackles from Gurdeep and a burst of pace from Pardeep Narwal to inflict an all out. The deficit was cut down to eight points and the Panthers led 28-20.

But the score difference was too much for the Yoddhas to catch up to, despite their defence shaping up better. The game was put to rest when Deshwal produced a super raid in the final minute of the game, which also led to a third all out for the Panthers.

That final raid saw the raider pick up his third super ten of the season and gave the Panthers a massive 17-point victory.

Puneri Paltan beat Bengaluru Bulls

The Puneri Paltan breezed past the Bengaluru Bulls 43-18 with a brilliant all-round display to end their home leg on a high. The win saw Paltan extend their stay at the top of the table and increase their score differential to an incredible +72.

In a dominant first-half performance, every part of the Puneri Paltan machine worked with precision and synchronisation. They inflicted their first all out on the Bulls within the first five minutes to take a 10-2 lead. Their defenders in particular were on fire, matching their raiders almost point for point through the half.

A second all out followed soon after and by this time they were streaking away into the distance with a 23-5 lead. The Paltan defence missed just three tackles in the first half, while pocketing an extraordinary ten points in the duration. They went into half-time leading by a massive 20 points.

The home side inflicted a third all out in the opening minutes of the second half to take a virtually unassailable 33-10 lead.

From thereon it became a battle between the Bulls’ pride and Mohammadreza Shadloui Chiyaneh’s determination to grab as many tackle points in as many ways as possible. Chiyaneh missed a mere two tackles all evening to finish with seven points, as the Paltan wrapped up a comfortable 26-point victory.