Puneri Paltan survived a second-half scare before defeating Telugu Titans 42-37 in the Pro Kabaddi League's second Inter Zone Challenge Week at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on Thursday. It was just a one-way traffic for Pune who took a 18-0 lead in nine minutes and had a 14-point lead at the break but Titans replied strongly to reduce the deficit to 40-36 with two minutes left on the clock. Playing their first match after a 11-day break, Pune looked fresh and thwarted any further inroad by the southern outfit.
Credit should be given to their defender Girish Erak who made a super tackle on Rahul Chaudhari with a minute left to make it 36-42 as it was about sealing the match from there on. Ernak also won the Moment-of-the-Match for his brilliant super tackle in the dying minutes.
Captain Deepak Hooda was their star raider with nine points as the Pune outfit, who have played just eight matches, secured their sixth win to climb past Jaipur Pink Panthers to fourth place with 31 points in Zone A.
Telugu Titans' qualifying hope got a big blow with their ninth loss from 13 matches as they remained on fourth place with 24 points.
The match looked terribly lopsided in favour of Pune who had a commanding 22-1 lead after 12 minutes and were 26-12 ahead at half-time.
But there was some relief for Titans who rode on Rahul Chaudhari (9 raid points) and Sombir's (4 tackle points) combined effort to claw back into the game in the second-half.
A super raid from Rahul Chaudhari gave them three points to narrow down the deficit to 27-39 with five minutes left on the clock.
But Pune held on with their defence packing a punch.