Pankaj Mohite was in red-hot form as the raider helped Puneri Paltan beat defending champions Bengaluru Bulls 42-38 in the final match of the Pune leg of Pro Kabaddi at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Friday.
Mohite, with 17 raid points, was ably supported in the defence by Pune's Surjeet Singh and Sagar Krishna (both securing High 5s), as the result helped the home side jump to 8th place on the points table.
Bengaluru's top raiders Pawan Sehrawat and Rohit Kumar picked up Super 10s but they were found wanting against a stronger and cleverer Pune side.
Bengaluru might have started the match as favourites but the home side showed their true potential in a fiercely-fought first half. Surjeet Singh and his Pune defence had a game-plan for the high-flyer Sehrawat and their two lines of defence meant the threat of Bengaluru's primary raider was neutralised for most of the first half.
On the other side of the mat, Mohite had yet another brilliant outing. The young raider playing his first season of Pro Kabaddi fetched points with ease, producing classic Kabaddi moves such as the 'Dubki' in the process, as Pune clinched their first All-Out with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Rohit Kumar produced flashes of brilliance to lead a mellowed comeback for Bengaluru but Surjeet's High 5 and Mohite's 9 raid points meant Pune went into the half time with a five-point lead (20-15).
Pune secured their second All-Out of the match in the fifth minute after the restart to open up a nine-point lead as Mohite secured his Super 10. But Bengaluru were not ready to be tamed without a fight and multi-point raids by Sehrawat and Rohit Kumar reduced the deficit to five points. But facing an All-Out, Krishna produced three successful tackles including two Super Tackles to help Pune open up the lead again.
He picked up his High 5 but Bengaluru edged in on another All-Out with less than three minutes in the game. Mohite, however, defied all of the opponents' valiant attempts to stop him and extend the inevitable All-Out. Bengaluru did pick up the All-Out in the final minute but Pune's players remained calm to see out an important win.
The Pro Kabaddi will jump to Jaipur on Saturday as the Pink Panthers look to revive their fortunes in the 100th match of Season 7.