Vishakhapatnam: Bengal Warriors strengthened in attack by the inclusion of army man Nitin Tomar gave an impressive display to defeat hosts Telugu Titans 25-17 in the concluding tie of the first leg of the Season 3 Pro Kabaddi today. The Kolkata-based outfit hadn’t performed well last season and the home team was expected to put it across by riding on the crowd support.
But Nitin dashed their hopes as he found an able ally in Mahesh Goud in attack. The duo turned the tide after the break when the two teams were tied 9-9. The match took a decisive turn after the defending pair of corner men, Captain Nilesh Shinde and Girish Ernak struck a purple patch.
For the home team nothing went right in all the departments. Rahul got only two points for a tally of four with two tackles in the match. Sukesh Hegde was also nowhere near his usual self, scoring just a solitary point in a do-or-die raid.
Girish who had 5 tackle points, teamed up so well with Nilesh (4 tackles) that within a space of two minutes the fate of the match was decided. From a slender 15-14 advantage in the 31st minute they went up 20-15. In the process they scored an all-out, the only one of the match in the 33rd minute of play. Nitin got rid of the dangerous Meraj Sheykh and Prashant Kumar Rai to register the all-out.
Girish then came up with two good frontal blocks and a double thigh hold to get rid of the Iranian Meraj and the Telugu Titans’ star raider Rahul Chaudhari to make it 22-15 with the last five minutes call given by the referee. The losers had to come with a superlative effort but that wasn’t to be. The Bengal Warriors had the last laugh when a bonus awarded to Rohit Baliyan who had a good match was negated by the TV umpire. The losers in the bargain lost an opportunity to grab one point for not losing the tie by less than a seven point margin.
The Bengal Warriors have thus sent a subtle message to all their opponents to not take them lightly. Their new coach Pratap Shetty has made a confident start and his equation with his captain, Nitesh whom he coaches at Bharat Petroleum will surely see the team gel as a unit.
For Telugu Titans, they have three days to ponder over what went wrong before they take on Bengaluru Bulls on the last day of the next leg.
At the end of the Vishakhapatnam leg the Telugu Titans still top the table with 11 points in four outings. The Jaipur Pink Panthers have 6 in two and Bengal Warriors are placed third with the 5 they pocketed today.