Patna Pirates set their date with Bengal Warriors in the second qualifier after defeating Puneri Paltan 42-32 in the third Eliminator of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) at the NSCI Stadium on Tuesday.
The twist was stored for the dying stages of the match when defending champions Patna made a stunning comeback, scoring 18 points in the last six minutes to turn the tide in their favour.
Patna skipper Pardeep Narwal was sensational yet again as he scored 19 points to lead his team to victory. Pune crumbled under pressure and lost their nerve as their campaign came to a disappointing end.
Deepak Niwas Hooda scored nine points but couldn’t deliver when it mattered the most for his team. Pardeep made two successful two-point raids as Patna led 5-3 after seven minutes. He scored two more raid points as Patna inflicted an all out in the 11th minute to lead 10-6.
Deepak scored with a successful raid in the 11th minute as Pune trailed 7-10 before his two-point raid in the 13th minute revived Pune’s chances. Rajesh Mondal scored his first raid point in the 15th minute as Pune levelled the scores at 12-12.
Pune ended the first half strongly by inflicting an all out in the 19th minute to lead 18-12 before adding two more points to go to the breather leading 20-13.
Coming back, Pune sent Pardeep Narwal to the bench in the 22nd minute to lead 21-13. Vijay scored with a crucial do-or- die raid in the 24th minute as Patna trailed 15-21.
But Suresh Kumar’s two-point raid in the 25th minute consolidated Pune’s lead to 23-16 and within a few minutes it seemed like the game was slipping from Patna’s hands as Pune’s defence kept the dangerous Narwal and Monu Goyat out.
Pune led 28-18 in the 32nd minute and were on the verge of inflicting another all out but Patna forced a super tackle and then scored with a two-point raid in a minute to trail 22-28 in the 34th minute.
It proved to be a turning point for the match when Pardeep’s super raid in the 35th minute yielded four points for Patna, who found themselves at 28-29. Patna immediately inflicted an all out in the next minute to grab the lead at 31-30 before sending back Deepak to the bench in the 37th minute to lead 33-31.
Both teams were awarded a technical point in the 38th minute as Patna led 34-32.Pardeep then scored with a do-or- die-raid as Patna led 35-32 in the 39th minute before inflicting an all out in the final minute to seal the deal in their favour.
Patna will now take on Bengal in the second qualifier in Chennai on Thursday, the winner of which will meet Gujarat Fortunegiants in the final on Saturday.