Maninder Singh was the star for home Bengal Warriors as they beat defending champions Bengaluru Bulls 42-40 in a high-scoring Pro Kabaddi encounter in Kolkata on Thursday.

Maninder scored 17 raid points for Bengal as they survived a raiding fest by Bulls’ Pawan Sehrawat who finished with 19 points to finish their home leg with three wins and a tie at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium.

The league’s best raider, Pawan Sehrawat, could hardly make an impact in a closely fought first half that saw the defenders step their game up to thwart the raiders.

Mohammad Nabibakhsh dominated the early stages of the match, pulling off two impressive tackles to set the tone for what was to follow.

Maninder then got into the act for the home side with a two-point raid sending Bengaluru’s Amit Sheoran and Saurabh Nandal to the dugout in the fifth minute. But the Bulls showed their champion mentality by crawling back into the match after being reduced to two men on the court.

Ankit pulled off a Super Tackle in 8th minute to start the comeback as the champions prevented several attempts by Bengal to enforce an all-out.

But the absence of Sehrawat on the mat for a long period, coupled with an incredible two-point raid by Sukesh Hegde in the 16th minute, finally gave the home side an all-out with slightly less than two minutes remaining.

However, Bulls’ strategy to pick up bonus points meant they trailed by just a point (14-15) going into the break.

Bulls started the second half with an aggressive strategy and it paid quick dividends. Sehrawat quickly grabbed his Super 10 as the defending champions inflicted an all-out of Bengal in the 4th minute of the second half to move to a six-point lead.

Nabibakhsh and Maninder kept the Bengal team in the game with their all-round performances. The Iranian secured his High 5 with a tackle on Sehrawat with 8 minutes left in the clock to reduce the Bulls’ lead to four points.

But Bengal clung on to the game and the pressure on Bulls told when Rohit Kumar went out of bounds to give the Warriors an all-out with five minutes remaining. Sadly for Warriors, the all-out meant Sehrawat was back on the mat. The final minutes became a raiding masterclass by Maninder and Sehrawat as they matched raids for raids.

The Bengal man produced a stellar three-point raid but Pawan matched it with a two-point raid to level the scores.

Eventually, Sehrawat succumbed to the Bengal defence allowing Maninder ton win the game for the home side.

Patna Pirates keep playoff hopes alive

Pardeep Narwal was once again at his best as Patna Pirates continued their winning momentum, edging out Jaipur Pink Panthers 36-33 in a thrilling first game on Thursday.

Coming on the back of a big victory against Tamil Thalaivas on Monday, three-time champions Patna thus picked their second win in a row to jump from rock bottom to ninth place in the 12-team table and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Patna now have 30 points, while the Jaipur outfit remained in top-six with 42 points, having played 15 matches each.

Captain Narwal led by example with 14 raid points as he was ably supported by Jang Kun Lee (eight points) as the Korean made a fine comeback to the side.

However, it was Pink Panthers who took a slender one-point lead at half time and challenged them till the final minute of the match when Deepak Niwas Hooda ousted Narwal with the score reading 33-32 in favour of Patna.

But a clever bonus point by Lee, followed by a smart tackle by Neeraj Kumar helped Patna open up a two-point cushion in the final minute to seal their fifth win of the seventh season.

Patna’s fragile defence though continued to be a concern as they squandered an opportunity to inflict an all-out on the Pink Panthers in the first half.

Sandeep Dhull pulled off a super tackle with 10 minutes still to go for the half time to start a revival for the Jaipur side as the Pirates had an implosion.

But a late surge by Narwal ensured the three-time champions remained in better shape as the sides went into the break with scores at 15-14 in favour of the Pink Panthers.

Amit Hooda joined Sandeep Dhull in the Super Tackle party as Jaipur began the half on a high.

But Lee chipped in with vital points for Patna as they eventually clinched that all-out in the eighth minute of the second half.

Despite the all-out, the Pink Panthers had a one-point lead, thanks largely to their raiders who always picked up the bonus points when on offer.

Pardeep Narwal picked his Super 10 with nine minutes remaining while Jaipur’s Dhull secured his High 5 with a mighty tackle on Narwal.

Patna’s three-point lead was evened out by Sushil Gula’s three-point Super Raid for the Pink Panthers as the match entered the final minutes with the teams par on points.

The Pro Kabaddi caravan now shifts to Pune where Anup Kumar’s Paltan face a resurgent Gujarat Fortunegiants side before Haryana Steelers take on Tamil Thalaivas.

Points Table

1 DABANG DELHI K.C 14 11 2 1 56 59
2 BENGAL WARRIORS 16 9 4 3 72 58
3 HARYANA STEELERS 14 9 4 1 29 49
4 BENGALURU BULLS 16 9 7 0 14 49
5 U MUMBA 15 7 7 1 26 43
6 JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS 15 7 7 1 0 42
7 U.P.YODDHA 14 7 5 2 -49 42
9 PATNA PIRATES 15 5 10 0 -14 30
10 TELUGU TITANS 14 4 8 2 -50 30
11 PUNERI PALTAN 14 4 8 2 -34 29
12 TAMIL THALAIVAS 15 3 10 2 -56 27