Akash Shinde did the star turn as Puneri Paltan comprehensively defeated the Patna Pirates 44-30 at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Monday and sealed a place in the semifinals of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 9.
The Shinde, who tallied 13 points, and Mohammad Nabibakhsh’s (9 points) double show was enough for the Paltan to produce a masterclass.
Billed as a battle between two teams led by Iranian defenders, the electric start was expected. Despite the defensive talent on show, the Paltan ran into an early lead through Akash Shinde’s quick raids.
While Shinde was an obvious starring candidate, Paltan’s Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh also pulled together points on both sides of the mat to leave the Pirates reeling.
The Paltan inflicted the first All-Out of the game with barely a minute of the first half left to surge into an 18-8 lead. Barely threatened by anyone bar Sachin, Paltan went into the break leading 19-10.
The Paltan deepened the Pirates’ wounds in the second half, Shinde and Nabibakhsh subjecting them to constant touchpoints as they further extended an already comprehensive lead.
At the other end, despite Sachin chipping away with valuable points, the Pirates looked in disarray. A third All-Out by the Paltan late in the game all but confirmed their victory as they went into a 43-19 lead.
The Pirates ended up getting 11 points in the final five minutes, with Mohammedreza Chiyaneh getting a five-point haul, to earn back some respect but in the end, it was too little too late as the Paltan sealed their spot in the semis.