Pro Kabaddi 2019: Vishal Bhardwaj delivers again but raiders' errors cost Telugu Titans victory against Puneri Paltan
Titans have slipped to 11th on the table. The fact that they scored 7 Super Tackles and still lost in the match is testimony to the fact that their raiding was below par on Thursday.
Both these teams were lagging at the bottom and wanted to prove a point in penultimate match of of the Delhi leg.
Puneri Paltan started off well with Nitin and Manjeet making it 5-0 in under two minutes after the start of play.
While raiders Siddharth Desai and Suraj struggled to get going in the first half, it was Vishal who kept the team's score a notch ahead of Pune.
New Delhi: 'Kabaddi is a team game'. You hear this very often by kabaddi players and coaches alike. It does not really matter who gets a Super 10, a High 5 on a day, if the team is not playing together, a win will be hard to earn.
Puneri Paltan's performance on Friday was a case in point. There were no standout performances. Nitin Tomar collected 8 points and Manjeet finished with 9. The defence was tight and Anup Kumar kept the team going from the sidelines. All these factors led to the team finding its way through 40 minutes against Telugu Titans.
Both these teams were lagging at the bottom and wanted to prove a point in the penultimate match of the Delhi leg.
Puneri Paltan started off well with Nitin and Manjeet making it 5-0 in under two minutes after the start of play. By the sixth minute, Titans were left with just two players on the mat in the form of Vishal Bhardwaj and C Arun. They feared an All-Out. However, these two managed to hold the fort as they defended well and earned some quick tackle points. From there, Pune went on the back foot. Vishal led from the front as Titans' defended well and despite the team started roughly, suspecting an All-Out soon, the in-form player kept the screws tight with series of super tackles.
While raiders Siddharth Desai and Suraj struggled to get going in the first half, it was Vishal who kept the team's score a notch ahead of Pune. From 0-5 down in the third minute, a superb show by defence helped them get a 4-point lead by the fifteenth minute as the scoreline read 13-9. This charge was led by Vishal who now sits atop in list of players with highest tackle points this season (42 in 11 matches).
But Titans' raiders continued to disappoint to help Pune stage a comeback. By now, Anup Kumar's team had found a way out against Vishal and Co. Vishal, in his typical fashion, attacked the ankle around the mid-line to catch the raiders. Pune raiders Manjeet and Nitin avoided giving him that advantage after working out a strategy and inflicted one raid after the other. Titans' Palle Mallikarjun, Amit Kumar failed to do so for their team. Minutes before the end of the first half, Vishal was replaced by another raider Ankit Beniwal in order to boost Titans' raiding chances but even he could not do any good.
At the halfway mark, Pune were able to make it 17-14, with the match beginning to come in their hold slowly and steadily.
The second half saw a different Siddharth Desai on show as he picked up five back-to-back raid points for Titans. But a Super Raid from Manjeet in the fourth minute changed the game completely. By that time, both teams were going neck and neck. Ironically, it was Vishal who could not finish his signature move, the ankle hold, which led to a 4-point super raid, eventually giving Pune a six-point lead.
Vishal showed a big heart after the match and admitted it was that very mistake which took the match away from them. However, the bigger picture tells us that there was massive pressure on defence from the first second, courtesy of the superb raiding abilities of Tomar and Co. Had Titans' raiders made amends in the first half itself, the super raid might not have made a huge difference in the end. Also, had the defenders failed to show fight, Pune could have finished the match in the first half itself as they already had a 5-0 upper hand in the first four minutes of the match.
Titans have slipped to 11th on the table. The fact that they scored 7 Super Tackles and still lost in the match is a testimony to the fact that their raiding was below par on Thursday.
They play Tamil Thalaivas next on 2 September. With the first half over, the onus is more on the teams placed at the bottom half of the table. Every match from here is like a do-or-die raid for them.
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