Hyderabad, July 21: Tamil Thalaivas had a memorable start to the Pro Kabaddi League 2019 season as they registered a clinical win over hosts Telugu Titans in their opening game here at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium. In a highly anticipated game of Southern Derby, Thalaivas defeated Titans 39-26 on Sunday (July 21).
Rahul Chaudhari his campaign for his new franchise on a positive note as he returned with 13 points (10 raiding & 3 defending) started with a bonus point as he began raiding for his new team. His performance must be sweeter for Rahul as it came against his previous team. The 'showman' was playing his first match against Titans that too in the latter's backyard.
Thalaivas' captain Ajay Thakur had a mixed day in the raiding department but he had the support of seasoned campaigners Rahul, Manjeet Chhillar and Shabeer Bapu. All these senior pros made the job easy for their captain as they performed well in every department.
Manjeet - who looked out of touch in the previous season - made a strong statement in the new season as he returned with six tackle points in the match. Tamil Thalaivas inflicted all-out on Telugu Titans in the 16th minute of the first half and took the lead 16-7.
AT the end of half-time, Tamil Thalaivas maintained a double lead over Titans as they led 20-10 at the end of 20 minutes. Rahul began the new season on confident note as the 'showman' returned with 5 raiding points in the first-half.
Telugu Titans looked at making a comeback in the second half as they quickly sent Thalaivas' top raiders Rahul, Ajay and Shabeer early on. But in the absence of top-three raiders, Manjeet guided the players and didn't let the opposition claw back.
Tamil Thalaivas' brilliance in the defence helped them effect Telugu Titans' first all-out in the 37th minute but by then it was already too late for the hosts.
One of the major reasons why Titans ended up on the losing side was because their star raider Siddharth Desai looked ineffective. Thalaivas did their homework well and their defence clicked.