Raider Arjun Deshwal helped Jaipur Pink Panthers beat Puneri Paltan 31-26 in Match 39 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Friday. Deshwal, the Panthers lead raider, scored 11 points, another Super 10 in Season 8, while defenders Sandeep Dhull and Sahul Kumar scored four points each. The Season 1 champions jumped to the 7th position on the table after the victory.
Jaipur Pink Panthers started the match brightly with Deshwal impressing in the raids. Captain Deepak Hooda started on the bench for the Panthers, who had left corner Sandeep Dhull back onto the mat. His presence gave the defence a lot more confidence as they prevented the likes of Pune's Mohit Goyat and Pankaj Mohite in the early minutes. Jaipur got their first all-out with eight minutes remaining to open a healthy eight-point lead.
But Pune's next-generation stars were in no mood to let Jaipur run away with the match. The trio of Pankaj Mohite, Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat got quick raid points to help Pune clinch an all-out with two minutes remaining. The first half ended well-balanced at 18-17 with Jaipur in the lead.
Both teams opted for a cautious approach in the second half. Jaipur brought in Deepak Hooda to steady the ship, but it was Arjun Deshwal once again who did the heavy lifting. The young raider scored yet another Super 10 with 10 minutes left in the match to give the Panthers a three-point lead. Substitute Nitin Tomar clinched crucial points for Pune as they kept pace with the Panthers in the closing minutes.
Coach Anup Kumar advised his players to keep calm in the Time Out, but Pune couldn't prevent an all-out with two minutes remaining.
Sandeep Dhull and Sahul Kumar were rock solid in defence as the Panthers controlled the final minutes to win the match. Pune's impressive youngsters, despite showing glimpses of their potential, couldn't find the answers to a well-drilled Panthers unit.