Mumbai, June 25: Puneri Paltan began the defence of their title with a naroow 28-24 win over Telugu Titans in the opening game the fourth season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, here on Saturday (June 25).
The Titans started aggressively and put in a solid all-round performance with their attack and defense working well in tandem.
Paltan's raider struggled in the first half and their Nitin Tomar was restricted to zero points. It took nine minutes for the Titans to inflict the first all-out of the match with the score at 11-6.
It looked like the defending champions were losing their grip on the match but came back to reduce the deficit to two points and the score at half time was 15-13 in the favour of Telugu Titans.
The second half, however, was a different story as Paltan showed their mettle and their star man Manjeet Chhillar was solid at the back. With the game on knife's edge at 18-17, Puneri Paltan struck at the right time to inflict their first all-out.
Vinod scored five points for the Titans as did Sandeep Narwal. Tomar who was looking out of sorts for the most of the game crucially scored his first point to make ita four-point game in favor of Pune.
With score at 22-18, Telugu Titans captain Rahul Chaudhry failed with a do-or-die raid. For a while, it looked like Titans might just stage a comeback and with two TV reviews going in their favour but Puneri Paltan held their nerve.
Chhillar marshaled his troops magnificently and showed why he is considered one of the best players in the league. Both teams showed their defensive prowess and it was a bit surprising to see both teams missing out more than a few do-or-die raids. Paltan's Sonu Narwal was adjudged the best raider of the match whereas Chhillar was the best defender.