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Captain Hooda steers Paltan to nail-biting win over Yoddha

Puneri Paltan secured a thrilling 40-38 win over UP Yodda in the first eliminator of the Pro Kabaddi League on Monday 

pune Updated: Oct 23, 2017 23:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Puneri Paltan,Pro Kabaddi,UP Yoddha
Sandeep Narwal of Puneri Paltan is pinned down by UP Yoddha players during their Vivo Pro Kabaddi league match in Mumbai on October 23.(AP)

Pune Puneri Paltan captain Deepak Hooda, who has been the backbone of the team this entire season and has single-handedly led Pune’s attack, once again proved his ability to turn the tables.

His performance (10 points) supported by Akshay Jadhav (6) and crucial tackles from Girish Ernak, helped the Paltan to secure a thrilling 40-38 win over UP Yodda in the first eliminator of the Pro Kabaddi League on Monday.

Played at SVP, Mumbai, Puneri Paltan were comfortably leading 32-22 with 10 minutes to go for the final whistle. At one stage it looked like the Paltan would have an easy affair. However, Rishank Devadiga’s super performance (15 points) and a few mistakes from the Paltan almost cost them the match.

Yoddha fought back strongly in the dying minutes and gained a 37-36 lead with just three minutes to go. In this pressure situation, Paltan lost their key striker Hooda and it was Ernak who handled the pressure well and made some crucial tackles.His efforts paid off and Paltan literally pulled the match back again with a narrow margin.

Earlier in the first half, Puneri Paltan was struggling to find any rhythm. Akshay Jadhav earned the first point for the team, but Rishank Devadiga’s super raid imposed an all-out on Pune and Yoddha were leading 10-5 in just the fourth minute of the game. Devadiga continued the onslaught and with his 2-pointer raids and Yodha raced to a 14-6 lead.

However, Pune clawed their way back into the game. With some good tackles and successful raids, they quickly reduced the margin and soon were just two points behind (13-15) Yodha. With boosted confidence they imposed an all-out on Yodha and took a narrow lead 17-16. At the end of the first half, both teams were level at 18-18.

In the first half, skipper Deepak Hooda and Akshay Jadhav were major contributors with five points each, while Devadiga contributed for Yodha with 8 points and was supported by Nitin Tomar with 5 .

First Published: Oct 23, 2017 21:37 IST