Jaipur: In a top-of-the table clash, Jaipur Pink Panthers came out on top as they beat Patna Pirates 29-22. Ajay Kumar scored seven points for the Panthers and came up with crucial raids. Trailing 9-11 in a lacklustre first half, the Panthers drew level at 13 by forcing a super tackle early in the second half.
Panthers then nosed ahead 15-14 after 27 minutes in what was turning out to be an extremely close contest after a successful raid by Ajay Kumar (7 raid points) and then did enough to hold the upper hand till the end. The crucial moment occurred in the 30th minute of play when Jasvir Singh's successful raid resulted in a five-point advantage through an all-out, which they did not let go of.
Although the Pirates narrowed the lead down to two (20-18), with eight minutes left on the clock, the Panthers applied strong pressure to increase the lead gradually before emerging victors. Panthers inflicted the second all out on their rivals in the 39th minute to open a nine-point gap and led 29-20, to end Pirates' hopes.
The victory boosted the Panthers' tally to 47 with one match in hand while leaving the Pirates in the second spot with 42 from 11 games. Other than Ajay, Amit Hooda in defense (5 tackle points) was the notable performer for Panthers along with Rajesh Narwal (4 points). For Pirates Pardeep Narwal (7) and Surjeet Singh (5) caught the eye in raids.
Later, bottom-of-the-table Bengal Warriors downed U Mumba 31-27 to leave the hosts — still fourth on the table — with 35 points and two matches in hand. Leading 11-9 at half-time, the Warriors never let the game slip from their hands against Mumbai who had been held 25-all by Telugu Titans yesterday.
Danger man and rival captain Anup Kumar was kept in check to 5 raid points while Rishank Devadiga and Rakesh Kumar tallied 7 and 4 touch points for Mumbai. Korean Jang Kun Lee did the star turn for the Warriors with 6 touch and two bonus raid points while Monu Goyat got 5 and 1. Mumbai trailed 23-31 with the last minute left and made a determined effort to catch up. Devadiga raked up one raid point followed by three but the leeway was too big to bridge in the time available for Mumbai.