The Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi hosted the first game ahead of the 23-day kabaddi showpiece, and fittingly it was the hosts Pune Pride that began in the best possible fashion thumping 43-34 win over the Haryana Heroes.
Riding on the performance of their inspirational captain and raider Abdul Sheikh who scored a total of 18 points in the game and was also declared the Parle-G Star of the Match, Pune scored big at crucial junctures of the game to register a comfortable victory in the end.
Jitendra Yadav was the other star for Pune on the day, inflicting a total of 12 tackles as well as scoring five raid points. For Haryana, Vikas Khatri had 11 tackles and eight raid points while Akshy Bodake also had 12-tackles to his name.
The Parle-G IPKL earlier witnessed an energetic opening ceremony to kick-off its inaugural edition with performances by Kayanat Arora and dance group MJ5 among others.
The first of four 10-minute quarters ended with Pune coming from behind to lead 9-7 at the end of it. A Vikas Khatri initiated Super Tackle at a critical juncture of the second quarter put Haryana ahead 14-12 and then another Super Tackle in the quarter meant that Haryana ended the first half of the game narrowly ahead 18-17.
The dimunitive and sleek Abdul Sheikh meanwhile was beginning to have his influence in the game and it was his valuable two-point raid in the dying seconds of the 2ndquarter that got Pune within one point.
He continued with his good work at the start of the 3rdquarter, inflicting an ALL OUT on Haryana to start a Pune surge which saw them open up a five point gap with less than half the quarter to go. It ended 29-25 in favour of Pune.
Haryana began the final 10 minutes on a positive note but Pune held on to their lead and a couple of two-point raids once again by Abdul saw the hosts open up a massive 10-point lead with just over 20 seconds to go.
They eventually closed out the game with a resounding 43-34 points victory.
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