Greater Noida: Tamil Thalaivas defeated Jaipur Pink Panthers 35-33 in a closely-contested Pro Kabaddi League match at the Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida, Monday.
Ajith Kumar scored a Super 10 for the Tamil Thalaivas as the team secured a victory after a long winless streak, in the penultimate match of their campaign. Jaipur, despite having had a good start, succumbed to yet another defeat to end their campaign on a sad note.
The Season one champions were actually the table-toppers at one point time but now they dont even have any chance to enter the playoffs. There was nothing but pride at stake in the match as both the teams had failed to qualify for the playoff stages despite pre-season billing as favourites to reach the top six. While the Thalaivas went through an implosion, with the star players not finding the required cohesion to carry a team, Pink Panthers’ over-reliance on a Deepak Hooda backfired after the seasoned raider had a dip in form due to an illness.
Jaipur started the match on the front foot and nearly clinched an All-Out in the first ten minutes. But a much- changed Thalaivas had other plans and a Super Tackle on Deepal Narwal by Sagar in the 13th minute inspired a come-back. Ajith Kumar, perhaps the only happy story in Thalaivas’ campaign this season, was at his usual best and the raider’s dominance yielded an All- Out for the Tamil side with under two minutes of play remaining to half time. The half ended with Thalaivas leading 19-14.
Jaipur Pink Panthers got back into the match after the half-time break with their defenders cutting down on easy opportunities for opposition raiders. Amit Hooda was particularly impressive in the left corner for the Pink Panthers, picking up a high 5, as the season one champions reduced Thalaivas’ lead to two points. Both teams traded blows in an evenly-matched mid-section of the second half with both teams failing to convert their momentum into an All-Out.
Thalaivas were sitting on a 5-point lead when Jaipur’s Guman Singh produced a 3-point raid to make the scores 31- 33 with under 2 minutes remaining. A successful Super Tackle on Ajith Kumar by the Pink Panthers made it an interesting last minute but the Thalaivas’ defence held firm to clinch a victory.