Arjun Deshwal starred for Jaipur Pink Panthers as they beat UP Yoddha 32-29 in match 16 of Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 held at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Monday. The young raider, who joined the Pink Panthers after the auctions from U Mumba, scored 11 points for Jaipur, who also saw their captain Deepak Hooda contribute important nine points.
It was yet another disappointing night for Pardeep Narwal who scored just 3 raid points from 12 attempts.
The match started with Jaipur on the front foot. The season 1 champions, under the leadership of captain Deepak Hooda, kept picking up solid raid points while ensuring UP’s Pardeep Narwal stayed on the bench. Arjun Deshwal complimented Deepak Hooda with five raid points in the first half as the Pink Panthers clinched their first all-out with three minutes remaining in the half to open an 8-point lead.
Surender Gill, fresh from his heroics against Patna Pirates, had reduced the Panthers’ lead when he got a 3-point Super Raid in the final minute. But Deepak Hooda then fetched a 3-point Super Raid in the final move of the half that made it 19-12 in ‘aipur’s favour.
Pardeep Narwal’s lack of raid points became a big concern for UP Yoddha, who had paid Rs 1.65 crore at the PKL auctions to lure him. But Rohit Tomar kept the UP raiding unit alive while the corner defenders Nitesh Kumar and Sumit slowly started getting their act together. They reduced Jaipur’s lead to four points with 10 minutes left in the match. Arjun Deshwal continued his good work for Jaipur as he made three Super 10s in three matches.
With six minutes remaining Jaipur had a seven-point lead but in Rohit Tomar, UP found a hero. The lanky all-rounder scored points at both ends to ensure Jaipur remained at a striking distance with five minutes left on the clock. Pardeep Narwal, meanwhile, could not find form in the dying minutes.
Despite great raiding by Rohit and Surender Gill, the UP defence could not nail down Deepak Hooda in the final raid which allowed Jaipur to win the match.