Captain Maninder Singh led from the front as defending champions Bengal Warriors defeated Tamil Thalaivas 37-28 in a Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) match, here on Thursday.
Skipper Maninder got a Super 10 (12 points) while defenders Amit Narwal and Ran Singh controlled the defence to halt their two match losing streak.
The victory also ended Thalaivas’ unbeaten run.
In the second match of the day, Puneri Paltan outclassed U Mumba 42-23 in the season’s first Maharashtra Derby.
Left-cover Vishal Bhardwaj and all-rounder Nitin Tomar picked up High 5s for the Pune team who jumped to 10th on the points table.
The first half of the derby was dominated by Pune with Aslam Inamdar and Nitin Tomar impressing in their raids.
After a cautious start to the match, Nitin Tomar produced a stunning 3-point Super Raid in the 13th minute to initiate Pune’s charge for an ‘All Out’.
Mumbai looked disjointed as a unit, clearly missing V Ajith Kumar’s presence in the raiding department even as Abhishek Singh tried his best to help Mumbai stay in touch with their opponents.
Pune opened up a 17-point lead with 10 minutes remaining as Vishal Bhardwaj and Baldev Singh ensured their corners remained raid-proof.
They got another ‘All Out’ immediately after the first Time Out as Vishal Bhardwaj picked his High 5.
The experienced Nitin Tomar picked up a High 5 in the closing stages as Pune won the derby comfortably.
Earlier, the Thalaivas started on the front foot with their defensive combination of Surjeet and Sagar tackling Maninder.
That set the tone for the initial minutes with Manjeet raiding sensibly at the other end.
But Narwal produced a stunning Super Tackle in the fifth minute to change the balance of power.
The defending champions built on the momentum and quickly reduced the Thalaivas men on the mat.
Surjeet produced two Super Tackles to pick up his High 5 but Bengal eventually got their ‘All Out’ with seven minutes to the interval.
The Thaliavas kept looking the more proactive side despite trailing and introduced super-sub Ajinkya Pawar to add more fire in the raiding department.
The half ended 20-16 in favour of Bengal.
Bengal maintained a 6-point lead at the first Time Out but it felt only a matter of time before either team tried something ambitious.
Ran Singh, returning to the mat after a long injury layoff, produced a stunning tackle in the left corner for Bengal to spark an ‘All Out’.
Bengal opened a 11-point lead with seven minutes remaining as Amit Narwal reached his High 5.
The defending champions ensured there were no slip ups in the dying minutes to win the match comfortably.