Hyderabad: Telugu Titans defeated debutants Tamil Thalaivas 32-27 in the opening match of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), which got underway at a nearly-full Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Friday.
Captain Rahul Chaudhari set the tone early for the hosts who raced to an 18-11 lead by half-time. In total, Rahul bagged as many as 10 points.
Nilesh Salunke was another star performer for the winning side earning for his side seven points out of his 14 raids.
Vishal Bhardwaj (five points) and Farhad Milaghardan (4) kept a check on the rival team's star raiders Ajay Thakur (6) and K. Prapanjan (7).
Initially, the match looked balanced, with both teams at 3-3. But Rahul's power, agility and intelligence enabled points after points for the Titans.
At 8-7, Prapanjan's double in a raid steered Telugu Titans to a strong position, with the opponents facing the danger of all out, which ultimately happened two raids later.
This led to the visitors fall behind by seven points and after the break, Salunke starred for Titans. His attack to the left, especially, paid dividends, as he and his team reaped the handsome win.
Prapanjan did his best with three points in second raids with three minutes to go but it was not enough.
C. Arun (four points) was also another key performer for Tamil Thalaivas side.
In the second match of the day, Puneri Paltan hammered former champions U Mumba 33-21 in the Maharashtra derby.
The Pune outfit sparkled from the start and at the half-time took a 17-10 lead. Sandeep Narwal's impressive first-half show was one of the prime reasons for Pune's position of strength.
In total, Narwal earned six points for his team, while captain Deepak Hooda contributed five points with his raids.
Anup Kumar came up with eight points for Mumba and all-rounder Kuldeep Singh gave four points.
U Mumba lacked the discipline from the beginning and their defence, especially didn't look good, with some half-hearted attempts at blocking the raids, while Puneri Paltan started the match with great intensity to lead 6-1 after seven minutes and reduced Mumba to just two players.
Mumba struggled to come to terms in the early part of the match but Anup Kumar scored two points as they trailed 3-7 after nine minutes. The Mumbai team got depleted early and was all out at the 10th-minute mark. Post this, Pune took a 11-4 lead which increased to 18-11 at half-time.
Defenders Dharmaraj Cheralathan (four points) and Ravi Kumar too were outstanding for Pune as they never allowed Mumba to make a comeback into the game. In total, Pune got 15 tackle points, as compared to seven for Mumbai.
They didn't allow the space for the Mumba raiders. Kashling Adake flattered to deceive with one point, while Shabeer Bapu collected only two points from 12 raids. Hadi Oshtorak too came a cropper, contributing only one point.
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Updated Date: Jul 29, 2017 11:18:42 IST