Defending champions Patna Pirates defeated inaugural champions Jaipur Pink Panthers 37-29 to win the title in the 4th season of the Pro Kabbadi League at Hyderabad on Sunday. Star raider Pardeep Narwal’s 16 points was the key for the side from Patna in the grand finale against the Jaipur side.
In a battle of the former champions, Jaipur Pink Panthers went into the grand finale against Patna Pirates with a 2-0 head-to-head record in this season of Pro Kabaddi League. The inaugural champions finished third in the league standings and ended Telugu Titans’ nine-match unbeaten run in the semis to enter the final. Jaipur’s hopes were pinned on skipper Jasvir Singh, who has been their star raider this season.
The defending champions, on the other hand, finished as league leaders, but had to fight till the end in the semi-final against Puneri Paltan to enter their consecutive final in the Pro Kabaddi League. Raider Pardeep Narwal’s form was the big plus for the Patna Pirates, who found it tough to score against Jaipur Pink Panthers in both the matches. Skipper Dharmaraj Cheralathan started from the substitutes bench with Hadi Oshtorak starting in place of him.
In the final panga, both teams exchanged punches in the opening minutes with the defences holding tight. With the scores tied at 2-2, Rajesh Narwal pushed the Jaipur side into a three-point lead by securing the first super raid of the match. With the Patna defence facing a bit of struggle, skipper Dharmaraj Cheralathan came into the court in place of Surjeet Singh. He struck instantly by pinning down Jasvir Singh to claim the first super tackle of the day. From 3-6 down, the defending champions made it 8-6 in a matter of two minutes to change the complexion of the match.
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But as was the case between the two teams in the league matches, the scores fluctuated rapidly with both sides refusing to go down. Pardeep Narwal’s raids were the key to Patna’s campaign all throughout the season and it continued once again with him using “dubki” to skip past the Jaipur players. Pardeep touched one player after another of the inaugural champions and reduced them to just one person – Jasvir Singh. Although he escaped the first time, a tackle from Fazel Atrachali inflicted the first all-out of the day on Jaipur Pink Panthers.
With six minutes remaining for the break, Patna had a six-point lead, but Jaipur skipper Jasvir Singh secured four points in quick succession to tie the match at 16-16 in the last minute of the first-half. However, with Patna defence in trouble, skipper Dharmaraj Cheralathan once again made a substitute appearance to produce another super tackle. With another point from Rajesh Mondal’s raid, the defending champions went into the break on the front foot with the score at 19-16.
Cheralathan’s heroics continued after the break with him and Hadi joining to pin down Rajesh Narwal for another super tackle. On the other side, Pardeep Narwal continued his form and used his dubki to get back to his court after touching the Panthers’ defenders. The second all-out of the Jaipur side also followed shortly after Fazel blocked Rajesh Narwal to give his side an eight-point lead.
With just six more minutes remaining in the match, it looked like an uphill task for the inaugural champions and it proved to be one. With Pardeep Narwal in full-form, points scoring was never a problem for the defending champions and they saw out the final few minutes to become the first team to win the Pro Kabaddi title twice.
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