PKL: Patna Pirates thrash Puneri Paltan, qualify for playoffs

BENGALURU, Feb 10:  Guman Singh was the star for Patna Pirates as they beat Puneri Paltan 46-23 to clinch a playoff berth in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 here on Thursday.

The raider scored 13 points to help the three-time champions become the first team to qualify for a playoff berth this season.

The table-toppers were made to sweat for their points in the first half by a resilient Pune side, but they switched gears in the second to decimate the men in orange.

Aslam Inamdar scored nine points for coach Anup Kumar’s Pune, but all his points came in the first half.

Patna had just a 1-point advantage at half time but two second-half ALL OUTs helped them increase that to 16 points by the final whistle.

Pune started the match on the front foot with the raiding duo of Aslam Inamdar and Mohit looking in red-hot form. Pune were closing in on a well-earned ALL OUT when tragedy struck them — four of their defenders followed Patna raider Sachin into the lobby without a touch.

The stroke of luck helped Patna gain the upper hand and they clinched an ALL OUT in the 17th minute. Guman Singh’s 3-point Super Raid increased their lead, but Aslam Inamdar immediately changed the complexion of the game with a massive 4-point Super Raid for Pune.

The neck-to-neck first half ended 18-17 with Patna holding on to a slender lead.

Patna maintained a 3-point lead with 10 minutes left on the clock, but Pune knew one big raid could change their fortunes.

But Guman Singh’s 2-point raid ensured there wasn’t any immediate Pune fightback.

Patna followed that athletic raid by producing a team tackle on Nitin Tomar to claw him away before his hand crossed the mid-line. That gave the Pirates an ALL OUT and a 7-point lead with five minutes remaining.

Guman Singh got his Super 10 as Patna opened a 10-point lead with two minutes remaining. Their defender Mohammadreza Shadloui marshalled his unit as they clinched another ALL OUT through Sachin’s 2-point raid.

That gave Patna a 16-point lead and helped them seal the win.

Earlier in the day, defending champions Bengal Warriors held Dabang Delhi to an entertaining 39-39 tie.

The Delhi team thought they had won the match when Naveen Kumar picked a 3-point Super Raid in the final minute, but Manjeet Chhillar’s unsuccessful tackle allowed Bengal to stay in the match and secure a tie.

Maninder Singh was the best performer for Bengal with 16 points while Naveen Kumar got 16 for Delhi.

The result will not help Bengal as they struggle to stay in contention for a Playoff spot. Delhi will also be upset after they lost a chance to secure all five points and push for a top-2 finish in the league.

The defending champions showed they were no easy pushovers with captain Maninder Singh milking easy points from an unsettled Delhi defence. Jeeva Kumar struggled in the cover position while Delhi’s corner combination of Joginder Narwal and Sandeep Narwal also lacked cohesion.  (PTI)