WKL: Khalsa Warriors edge out Punjab Thunder in nail-biting finish




Ludhiana, September 6: Wave World Kabaddi League’s first match in Punjab went right down to the wire as Khalsa Warriors held their nerves in the closing stages to stop a brilliant effort from Punjab Thunder. As the Wave World Kabaddi League made its long-awaited arrival into Punjab, widely considered as the Home of Kabaddi, Khalsa Warriors won their fifth straight win 59-57 and maintained their unbeaten streak.

Sultan Singh - Man of the match - Punjab Thunder

Sultan Singh – Man of the match – Punjab Thunder

Despite their great fight back Punjab Thunder had to face a defeat, but their held their heads high with a great show at the Hockey Ground in Punjab Agricultural University in the heart of Ludhiana.

Khalsa Warriors’ fifth straight came via a point on their final raid from Jasmanpreet Singh. It was by far the closest match of the Wave WKL.

It took the third umpire and several TV replays to separate the teams, as the final raid by Jasmanpreet Singh of Khalsa Warriors was declared as a successful one by the umpire after a close look.

At one stage, even the screens flashed 58-58 for the first tie of the league. However, Punjab Thunder’s joy was short-lived but they took it sportingly and the two teams hugged each other and walked away from the court to the thunderous applause from the 8,000-odd spectators.

Punjab Thunder had the consolation as their star raider, Sultan Singh, was adjudged the man of the match for his superb performance that included 26 successful raids many of them in crucial stages.

The Best Raider was also Sultan Singh, whose tally of 26 points equaled the previous best of 26 by his own teammate Talwinder Singh, who achieved it against Royal Lings USA last week in Delhi.

The Best stopper was Khalsa Warriors was Gurpreet Singh Manki with seven stops.

Khalsa Warriors seemed to be running away with the match as they held handy leads at the end of each of the first three quarters. But into the final quarter, Punjab Thunder turned in a brilliant comeback to narrow the gap to as little as one.

When the final quarter began Khalsa Warriors were 48-39 ahead and seemingly coasting to another convincing win, but Punjab Thunder led by raiders Sultan Singh and Talwinder Singh produced a brilliant performance. However Khalsa Warriors held their nerve in the crucial stages. In the last four minutes the gap between the two teams was never more than three points and quite often as little as one.

But Khalsa Warriors never let that narrow lead vanish. When the final raid came from Jasmanpreet with barely a few seconds left, the drama became even more thrilling as he seemed to have successfully thwarted. But he pulled clear and was awarded the point on technicality and his team had achieved their fifth win, despite Punjab Thunder producing a heart-stopping finish.

With the weather cooling off following the rains, which stopped for the first time after four days, Khalsa Warriors took full advantage and ran up a handy lead from the start and kept building on it. Then came the dramatic finish in the final stages of the match, which had the crowds on the edge of their seats.

With their fifth win in a row, Khalsa Warriors now have 10 points, while Yo Yo Tigers and Lahore Lions, both of whom will be seen in action on Sunday, have six points each from three wins in four matches.

For Punjab Thunder this was their third loss in five matches. Their earlier losses came at the hands of Lahore Lions and United Singhs. Punjab Thunder now has four points.

Raiders Gagandeep Jogewal, Talwinder Singh and Yugraj gave Khalsa Warriors the upper hand from the first quarter itself and stopper Gurpreet Singh ably supported them. For Punjab Thunder, raider Sultan Singh and stopper Lakhwinder Singh were the stars.

Scores at the end of each quarter

Quarter 1:    Khalsa Warriors lead 21-10

Quarter 2:    Khalsa Warriors lead 33-25

Quarter 3:    Khalsa Warriors lead 48-39

Quarter 4:    Khalsa Warriors win 59-57

 

Matches for Sunday at Hockey Stadium, PAU, Ludhiana:

United Singhs v Royal Kings USA (6 pm)

Yo Yo Tigers v Lahore Lions (8 pm);

 

League position after Match 17 of the Wave World Kabaddi League:

 

Team Played Win Lost Points
Khalsa Warriors 5 5 0 10
Lahore Lions 4 3 1 6
Yo Yo Tigers 4 3 1 6
United Singhs 4 2 2 4
Punjab Thunder 5 2 3 4
Royals Kings USA 4 1 3 2
Vancouver Lions 4 1 3 2
 

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