Two crucial super tackles late in the game helped the Jaipur Pink Panthers earn a 31-31 tie against the Tamil Thalaivas on Sunday. Manjeet had a terrific match for the Thalaivas and finished the game with nine points, while Pink Panthers left corner Sandeep Dhull recorded a High 5.
K Prapanjan and Manjeet helped the Thalaivas race to a 3-0 lead, and the defence ensured they maintained that early advantage. But the Pink Panthers clawed their way back into the game with a 4-1 run, courtesy of two tackle points from Sandeep Dhull, one from Amit, and an error from Thalaivas’ Sahil Singh.
The two teams traded blows and shared the following four points evenly as the game remained all square more than midway through the first half. Jaipur then seized the advantage through Naveen’s first raid point of the night and Dhull’s third tackle point and reduced the Thalaivas to just two players on the mat.
Arjun Deshwal went into raid, hoping to pick up a touch point on both players and inflict an All Out on the Thalaivas. The Jaipur raider managed to pressure one defender out of bounds but couldn’t escape Surjeet Singh’s Thigh Hold before the raid clock expired, giving Thalaivas two points and delaying the reset.
In the Pink Panthers’ next raid, skipper Hooda went in and picked up a touch point on Mohit, and in the subsequent raid, Jaipur’s defence pinned Surjeet down to inflict the game’s first All Out. Both teams added a couple of points to their total before the halftime whistle and went into the break with the Pink Panthers leading 17-13.
The Thalaivas got off to a strong start in the second half, courtesy of an assured Chain tackle on Hooda and a two-point raid from Bhavani Rajput that left the Pink Panthers with just three players on the mat. Manjeet then went in, tagged all three defenders before wrestling his way past the midline for a five-point Super Raid that helped the Thalaivas inflict an All Out and take a 21-18 lead.
The Pink Panthers did not let the All Out deflate their spirits and responded strongly. Hooda sent Surjeet to the bench with the faintest touch before Arjun Deshwal picked up two bonus points in quick succession to level the scores.
Both teams matched each other point-for-point over the next few minutes before a two-point raid from Manjeet saw the Thalaivas pull ahead on the scoreboard. After fighting off Jaipur’s attempts at a comeback to retain their lead, Ajinkya Pawar delivered another two-point raid to push his team’s advantage to four and leave the Pink Panthers with just three players on the mat.
With the game slipping away from the Pink Panthers’ grasp, Naveen stepped up to help them claw their way back into the game. He picked up a bonus and then Super Tackled Pawar to cut his team’s deficit down to just one. Sagar then tackled Deshwal to push the Thalaivas’ lead back up to two and leave the Pink Panthers with just three players on the mat again.
Manjeet came in for the game’s final raid and entered the lobby after claiming a touch on Sahul Kumar. But the referees judged that he did not get the touch, which gave the Pink Panthers two points for a technical Super Tackle, ending the game in a tie.