Jaipur: Former champions Jaipur Pink Panthers stir Telugu Titans in the second semifinal of Pro Kabaddi season 4. Jaipur will figh0 for the third place. The match got off to a tedious start, with both teams matching each other through the initial moments. The first half was a low scoring, even affair. But the match came alive in the second half and the Pink Panthers tore into a strangely subdued home team to gain another shot at the title. The Panthers will face the Pirates in the final on Sunday.t Patna Pirates in the final on July 31 for their second Pro Kabaddi title. Telugu Titans to play Puneri Paltan on July 3.
The second semifinal drew a star studded cheerleading squad. The Pink Panthers were being applauded by the ever present Abhishek Bachan while the Titans were being cheered lustily inside the indoor stadium at Gachibowli. Film actors Daggubati Rana of the Baahubali fame and sports loving superstar Daggubati Venkatesh were on the sidelines watching the action with a keen eye. Chitrangadha Singh was also in attendance.
Though it was hard to separate the two teams through a closely contested first half, it was the Panthers that looked like going into the break on top. The two teams were neck and neck through an intense first twenty minutes, matching each other point for point. Rahul Chaudhari produced a vital two point raid just before the break, to gain a slight edge at 11-10.
More importantly though, Rahul’s raid was significant for getting even on the mat. The hosts had just three players on the mat when he went in, with the visitors loaded fully at their end. When the most prolific raider of the season got his arm past the line, the scales were even with five men on either side.
Immediately after the break, Jaipur raised their game, removing both Sandeep Narwal and Jasmer Gulia on the same raid to turn the tide in their favour. The Panthers started to gain points in a rapid fire passage of play, cleaning up the Titans for 17-13 lead. Rajesh Narwal brought home two more points straight after the Titans refilled the mat to as they raced away to a comfortable 21-13 scoreline. With a little over 12 minutes left to play and only three men in play, the signs were ominous for the home team.
Jaipur forced a second all out on the Hyderabad team to gain a massive twelve point lead at 26-14. Rajesh Narwal repeated his well practised raiding routine to snap up two points and maintain Jaipur’s 12 point advantage. Rahul produced an incredible twist to the game with a couple of raids that earned five points for the Titans. Even then Jaipur was up by nine at 29-20, with a shade under seven minutes to determine the second finalist.
But with the Panthers down to three men, Rahul pushed too deep too long and Rana combined with Jasvir to send him off the mat. It was an eleven point game at 21-32, with only four minutes on the clock. As the clock ticked perilously close to the buzzer, Sandeep Narwal earned a raid point to reduce the deficit to ten, but conceded the point straight back. He hung too close to Jasvir who tricked him into an advanced tackle to 34-23.
The stadium fell into a deafening silence by now, with the result all but established. There was a bit of unnecessary drama at the end as the Titans challenged for a point and won it on the review, but the match had long been lost.