Jaipur Pink Panthers began their campaign with a bang as they thumped high-flying U Mumba 42-23 at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Monday.
U Mumba’s defence that clicked so well against Telugu Titans on opening day was ripped to pieces by the Pink Panthers as raiding trio of Deepak Niwas Hooda, Nitin Rawal, and Deepak Narwal wreaked havoc, scoring 24 points among themselves.
The season one champions made a great start to proceedings with Hooda scoring two points in the very first raid of the game. Rattled by the early departure of captain Fazel Atrachali to the mat, U Mumba lost their way at the start and were all-out within seven minutes.
Jaipur continued their dominance over the game in the remainder of the half and inflicted a second all-out on the Mumbai side on the stroke of half-time.
The Pink Panthers who led 22-9 at the interval were never really troubled in the second half as they maintained their lead. In the 37th minute, the Jaipur side added extra gloss on the result when the inflicted a third all-out on U Mumba, stretching their lead to 38-20.
Hooda recorded his 25th Super 10 in Pro Kabaddi in the final raid of the game as Jaipur ran out comfortable winners in their opening game.
Haryana Steelers down Puneri Paltan
In the second game of the day, Haryana Steelers registered a comfortable 34-24 victory over three-time semi-finalists Puneri Paltan. Youngster Naveen impressed for the Steelers scoring 14 points in a game that got away from the Paltan in the first half.
The game was a closely-fought affair for the first eight minutes of the encounter until Naveen weaved his magic on the game. Scoring three points in two raids help the Steelers open up a five-point gap over their opponents after claiming the game’s first all-out.
Captained and controlled by veteran defender Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Steelers never lost control of the game thereafter as Puneri Paltan who were missing star all-rounder Nitin Tomar lacked the bite in their raiding unit.
Selvamani further compounded Pune’s troubles in the 12th minute when he scored a super raid to stretch Haryana’s lead to seven points. Pune succumbed to another all-out in the 14th minute as the game slipped away from their grasps.
In the second half, Puneri Paltan tried to put pressure on the Steelers by playing on the do-or-die raid, but Naveen’s brilliance foiled their plans as Steelers maintained their advantage.
Paltan showed an appetite for a late fightback as they reduced the deficit to just seven points, but a super tackle on raider Manjeet snuffed out any hopes of a revival as Pune ended the game empty-handed.
In a battle of two player-turned-coaches, Rakesh Kumar came out on top against Anup Kumar.
Tuesday will be a rest day in Hyderabad before action resumes on Wednesday with UP Yoddha’s clash against Bengal Warriors and Telugu Titans’ game against Dabang Delhi.