“Rajesh Mondal had a big hand in Patna Pirates’ win last season,” said Deepak Hooda, “Whenever Pardeep (Narwal) would not be able to make points he would chip in.” Hooda was speaking to media after his Puneri Paltan recorded their second win of the season. This time it was against Dabang Delhi. Pune won the match scoring 26 to Delhi’s 21 and eight of those came from Mondal’s raid points.
Puneri Paltan coach BC Ramesh, who was present with Hooda in the post-match press conference, said that his team remains a more well formed defensive unit and so, they need their raiders to pick up points whenever the opportunity presents itself. Mondal did just that for the Paltans. He more often than not came away with points whenever he went in to raid.
Pune started the match on the front foot but Delhi eventually caught up with them. In fact, the match can be pretty much summed up in the way those first few minutes panned out. Pune remained ahead but Delhi were never too far behind. If there was any difference, it was the fact that while the big names fired for Pune, they failed for Dabang Delhi. Meraj Shayk could not get even a single raid point throughout the match while Nilesh Shinde managed just one succesfull tackle point. Instead, it was 21-year-old Anand Patil who was amongst the points. Patil scored a total of eight raid points, six of which came from touches.
While Patil’s team mates contributed precious little, Hooda and Mondal’s efforts were backed by a strong showing from the defensive unit. Hooda himself was instrumental on that front and managed to get a tackle point to his name. Sandeep Narwal, Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Ravi Kumar all got two points each. GB More may not have got on the scoring sheet but he was vital in keeping a check on Meraj Shayk.
Dabang Delhi will have no time to ponder over this defeat as they face U Mumba on Saturday in the last match that they play at Nagpur. Puneri Paltan, on the other hand, play Jaipur Pink Panthers on Thursday.