Bengaluru, February 18: Late super raids from Sukesh Hegde and Rohit helped Bengal Warriors seal a 43-36 win against playoff spot chasing Puneri Paltan in game 1 of Friday (February 11) in Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) 2021-22 at the Sheraton Grand Whitefield in Bengaluru.
Bengal Warriors in fact made a remarkable comeback in the second half as they were trailing by 10 points at halftime but overcame that margin to beat Pune.
For Warriors, Sukesh and Rohit scored 7 raid points each, while captain Maninder Singh scored a Super 10 (11 raid points) and defender Abozar Mighani just fell short of a High 5 with 4 tackle points.
For Puneri Paltan, who needed a win to position themselves for a playoff spot, Mohit Goyat's 15-point display went in vain as the rest of the team faltered. However, Pune still have a chance to qualify depending on other team's results.
The victory meant reigning champions Bengal Warriors ended their campaign with 57 points from 22 matches, while the defeat meant Puneri Paltan are on 61 points from 21 matches with one game remaining against fellow playoff aspirants Jaipur Pink Panthers.
Puneri Paltan dominated the first half with their raiders Mohit Goyat and Aslam Inamdar doing the bulk of the work. Bengal's experienced defence had no answers for the skilled Pune raiders who picked easy points.
Mohit Goyat's 5-point raid in the 5th minute gave Pune their first ALL OUT of the match. That opened an 8-point lead and allowed the Pune raiders to slow down the match. A few mistakes from the defence helped Bengal slowly pick points.
Nitin Tomar then joined the raiding attack and contributed with valuable points for Pune. It almost seemed like a practice match with Bengal offering very little resistance. The first half ended with the scores 20-10.
Bengal Warriors reminded everyone of their quality in the early minutes of the second half. Maninder Singh started picking up raids points while at the other end Mohammad Nabibakhsh clinched a stunning Super Tackle. They also ensured Pune's top raiders were sent to the bench. The scores were 27-24 in favour of Pune with 10 minutes remaining.
Sanket Sawant and Sombir clinched Super Tackles for Pune but they eventually succumbed to an ALL OUT with 5 minutes remaining in the match. That gave Bengal the lead for the first time in the match. Pune once again levelled the match with Mohit picking up crucial raid points.
The scores were 32-32 with 3 minutes to the final whistle. Maninder Singh and Mohit Goyat picked up their Super 10s in the process. But with 2 minutes remaining Rohit clinched a 3-point Super Raid to shift the balance once again to Bengal's side.
Sukesh Hedge followed that with another 3-point Super Raid for Bengal to reduce Pune to just 1 player on the mat. The Warriors used that momentum to inflict a last-minute ALL OUT on Paltan and win the match by a 7-point margin.