Hosts Telugu Titans slumped to their second straight defeat in the new Pro Kabaddi season as former hero Rahul Chaudhari became their destroyer-in-chief starring in 39-26 win for new team Tamil Thalaivas.
Having bought the star raider for Rs 94 lakh in the auction, the Thalaivas unleashed their new recruit on his former employers in Hyderabad on Sunday. Chaudhari who had a point to prove to the Titans who decided against retaining the raider ending their six-year association, started on a high with back-to-back bonus points in his opening two raids.
Paired alongside captain Ajay Thakur in the attack, Chaudhari thrived in the new partnership, constantly chipping away points in his raids to leave the Titans fractured.
Their woes were compounded by Siddharth Desai – the league’s most expensive player this season – having a disappointing outing again as he managed just six points in 13 raids.
Tamil Thalaivas managed to maintain a slender lead in the game since the early exchanges but soon had some daylight between them and their opponents when they enforced their first all-out on the hosts in the 15th minute.
Trailing 10-20 at the break, Titans made the worst possible start to the second half, losing Desai in the very first raid as he was sent back to the bench by Mohit Chhillar.
Manjeet Chhillar then joined in the party completing his High 5 in the second half as the Chennai side maintained their half-time advantage. The game was finished as a contest in the 36th minute when the Tamil Thalaivas got their second all-out stretching their lead to 36-21.
The Thalaivas closed the game to begin their campaign with a win and leave the Titans with plenty of questions to answer.
Gujarat avenge 2018 final loss
In the earlier game, Gujarat Fortuneginats avenged their loss to Bengaluru Bulls in last year’s final by handing them a 42-34 thumping at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad.
It was an all-round performance from last season’s runners-up with three players crossing the five-point mark.
However, it was raider Sachin Tanwar who made the early inroads in the Bulls’ defence that set the Giants on their way. He eventually ended the evening with a score of 7 points as coach Manpreet Singh gave him a breather towards the end. Support raider GB More also picked up six points.
The Fotunegiants’ famed defence rose to the occasion, tackling last season’s MVP, Pawan Sehrawat on seven occasions, while also catching captain Rohit Kumar five times in the match.
With the Bulls’ raiding unit failing, their defence was left vulnerable to Gujarat’s fine young raiders. Debutant Sonu announced his arrival on the big stage bagging a super raid en route five raid points on the day, as Gujarat gave early glimpses of their new array of starlets.
The defending champions fell to their first loss of the campaign, leaving Hyderabad with a mixed bag having won and lost a game each.
On Monday, U Mumba renew rivalry with Jaipur Pink Panthers before Puneri Paltan face Haryana Steelers as the hosts take a much-needed breather.