Jaipur, Sep 25 (IANS) Maninder Singh was the star for Bengal Warriors as they pipped Telugu Titans 40-39 in a tightly fought Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) match in front of a full house at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Wednesday.
Maninder scored 17 points as Bengal produced a clinical performance that catapulted them to the top of the points table. Siddharth Desai had an off day for the Titans despite scoring 15 points as the Telugu team all but killed their chances of making it to a playoff spot with the loss.
The first half was an evenly matched contest with both teams matching each other in all departments. Maninder was dominant in his raids for the Warriors, while Rajnish looked lively in the early minutes for the Titans. While Maninder’s raiding skills deserved praise, it was a lucky mistake from him of going out of bounds, that resulted in the first real impact of the game as three Telugu defenders followed him into the lobby.
The lucky move proved decisive as Maninder produced a four-point raid in his next foray to secure an All-Out in the 15th minute of the match.
Bengal continued to dominate despite Siddharth’s best attempts at reducing the lead and went into half time sitting on a 6-point advantage (19-13).
Telugu started the second half like a team fighting to stay in the playoff race and the hunger showed in the early minutes with Siddharth picking up valuable raid points. Vishal Bhardwaj in defence looked his ominous best while Farhad Milaghardan’s all-round abilities played a crucial role as the Telugu scripted a comeback. It utilised the momentum to secure an All-Out in the fourth minute of the second half to gain the lead in the match.
Maninder had his beast mode well and truly on after the All-Out, single-handedly annihilating the Telugu defence to restore his team’s lead. The Warriors secured their All-Out with under seven minutes left in the game to move to a four-point lead.
Maninder and his teammates then held their nerves to clinch an important win.