Vikas Kandola was once again unstoppable as Haryana Steelers cruised to a 41-27 victory against Puneri Paltan in Pro Kabaddi in Bengaluru on Monday.

The star raider took 11 raid points as his team outperformed the Pune unit in all departments to jump to the second on the points table.

The match had been billed as an encounter between the hard-tackling Pune side and the raid heavy Haryana team. Nitin Tomar started brightly for Pune as the five-star raider produced a Dubki to take out the experienced Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Vikas Kandola in the second minute.

Super Tackles, a big source of points in Season 7, kept the scores ticking as the match became a cagey affair towards the end of the first half. But two multi-point raids by in-form Vikas Kandola forced an All-Out on Pune and handed over the momentum to Haryana. The half ended with Haryana leading 18-11.

The Steelers came into the game after three wins in as many games and they started the second half with renewed energy. Vikas Kandola was in the thick of things once again but Haryanas raiding duo of Vinay Kumar and Prashanth Kumar Rai were more than an able support crew to Kandola, picking up vital points whenever the star raider went out.

Haryana enforced another all out on Pune with less than 9 minutes left in the match to all but seal the game.

Titans down Thalaivas

Telugu Titans outperformed Tamil Thalaivas to win 35-30 in the second match on Monday.

Siddharth Desai picked up nine raid points and Vishal Bhardwaj continued with his impressive form with six tackle points for the Titans as they saw out a spirited fight by the Tamil Thalaivas led by young Ajith Kumar who finished with a Super 10 (13 raid points) to his name.

Tamil Thalaivas, on the back of a demoralising defeat against arch-rivals Bengaluru Bulls on Sunday, started the match with a changed line-up as youngsters Ajith Kumar and Anand found a place in the starting seven. But it was Rahul Chaudhari, chasing a milestone of 900 Pro Kabaddi points, who started the raids for the Thalaivas, looking to do a double over the Hyderabad team (the Thalaivars had won the previous encounter between the teams).

But it was the Titans who started the match brightly with Siddharth and his brother Suraj Desai securing important raid points. In fact, both sets of defences struggled to get a stranglehold of the match as raiders picked up easy points in the initial stages.

Ajith Kumar was the star for Thalaivas, picking up seven raid points in a closely contested first half that also saw Manjeet Chhillar making uncharacteristic mistakes in the defence for the Chennai team.

Rahul Chaudhari clinched his 900-point milestone in the last raid of the first half as the teams went into the break with Titans leading Thalaivas 16-12.

The Thalaivas started the second half positively, riding on Ajith Kumar’s raiding brilliance, but the error-prone defence kept leaking unnecessary points to make it difficult for the Chennai-based unit to close the gap.

Armaan took over some of the raiding duties for the Titans as they opted to rest the Desai brother in the mid periods of the second half that was a see-saw battle between the two South Indian sides.

Bhardwaj raced to a High 5 but even the Titans’ defence was leaking points, with substitute Shabeer Bapu making an impact. Despite the wealth of experience in their ranks, the Thalaivas looked a disjointed team – a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth maybe – as Titans forced an all-out with less than 4 minutes remaining in the match to build a nine-point lead.

Ajith got to his Super 10 in the final minutes and ensured the Thalaivas lost with a margin less than seven points but coach E Bhaskaran will be left with a lot to wonder as his side suffered a fifth straight loss.

There will be no matches on Tuesday in Pro Kabaddi with the action resuming on Wednesday with Jaipur Pink Panthers’ game against Dabang Delhi and Patna Pirates’ clash against Bengaluru Bulls.

Points Table

1 DABANG DELHI K.C 11 9 1 1 49
2 HARYANA STEELERS 12 8 4 0 41
3 BENGAL WARRIORS 12 6 4 2 40
4 BENGALURU BULLS 13 7 6 0 38
6 U MUMBA 12 6 6 0 34
7 U.P.YODDHA 12 5 5 2 32
9 TELUGU TITANS 12 4 6 2 29
10 TAMIL THALAIVAS 13 3 8 2 27
11 PUNERI PALTAN 12 4 7 1 25
12 PATNA PIRATES 11 3 8 0 19