The hosts' goal-keeper Jasbir Singh too was off colour on Saturday and conceded three goals to rival skipper Ravi Pal Singh, who starred for the visitors with three goals.
Ravi Pal scored the first, third and the fourth goals, while young Vinayak Bijward scored the second goal and Deepak Kulu, the fifth. For Cheetahs Imrani Warsi (two) and Mark Harris were the scorers.
However, Warsi's wayward flicks from three of the eight penalty corners by the team cost them the match as otherwise it would have put them in good stead.
The Karnataka defenders did their job with elan and were rarely off their marks and in fact Innocent Kullu brought off one save in rushing out to stop Warsi flick and Len Aiyyappa was pick of the lot at the defense.
Karnataka Lions recorded the victory on a day when their star players Dhanraj Pillai, Amar Ayamma and Arjun Halappa were rested while Deepak Kullu was fielded as a substitute for the first time in the tournament.
Sher-e-Punjab edge Bhopal Badshahs 3-2
In Bhopal, Deepak Thakur struck twice as Sher-e-Punjab staved off a good challenge from hosts Bhopal Badhshahs to score a close 3-2 win on Saturday.
Both the teams appeared jittery in the first quarter as they struggled to trap passes but as the match progressed, Punjab players found rhythm and went on to dominate the proceedings for most part of the match.
Deepak (17th) put his team ahead in the dying minutes of the first quarter while Samer Dad had scored the second goal of the match, an equaliser for his side, in the 23th minute.
Harpreet also scored for Punjab and Deepak then scored his second goal in 45th minutes to again give his side lead.
Trailing 1-3 in the fourth and final quarter, Lalit (58) brought Bhopal back in the game when a brilliant effort resulted in a field goal.
The hosts survived a scare when they faced a penalty corner and managed to save it when only eight minutes were to go in the match.
Bhopal earned penalty corner when Sameer was stopped by Punjab defenders in an objectionable manner. Sameer Das missed out again as he failed to connect a pass from Baljinder on well planned move with the ball missing the goal just by a few inches.
Today's Matches (March 11)
7.00 pm Pune Strykers vs Chandigarh Comets (Pune)
9.00 pm Mumbai Marines vs Delhi Wizards (Mumbai)