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One of the very closely contested matches till now of the season took place today at Jaipur. The first inter-zone wild card match between Bengal Warriors and Puneri Pultans was really thrilling to watch. It started with Bengal defending well to get off the mark to open the scoreboard. Maninder Singh then took a really swift point to a take a lead of 2 points against Pultans to start off.

Maninder Singh – Fell for his own ego

Pultans have learnt the lesson seeing the way Singh played from the last few matches. There seemed to have had a definite plan against him in the entire match except for the first and last few points.

They targeted, pummeled, ridiculed him at times, poked his ego and even annihilated him all at once. They made him sit outside the playing field more than the time he spent inside the box.

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It all started when Sandeep Narwal throwing Maninder out of the box at score 4-4. Maninder looked perplexed how this could be done to him. He was furious in the bench and came back targeted Sandeep and took revenge. Pultans played on his ego and there started his downfall. So, simply they kept attacking him and played with his ego and he fell short every time.

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Maninder played blindfolded for his pride rather than being smart for his team. They targeted him by surprising him from behind and pulling his back leg which looked a well planned strategy. His ego was so hurt that he literally pulled and was seen throwing a Pultan raider to vent his frustration. Not to forget, his highlight of the day, when he scored 4 points in his raid in the second half.

Deepak Hooda – The Ace Raider

Every team would love to have an ace raider like Deepak Hooda. A smart mover, who knows the corners, forces the error and creates chaos in any defenders mind. He was the front runner in kick starting Pultans momentum to keep up with Bengal throughout the game. Except for a couple of occasions, he was in the zone most of the match by making right decisions.

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In the 2nd half, when the score was 12-10 in favor of Bengal he made his first mistake. He wrongly claimed a point and reviewed it like once before, losing all the reviews. Adding salt to the wound, he also gave away the 2 points he claimed to Bengal Warriors. At the dying stages of the match, in search of quick points, he got rolled over by Bengal defenders. His overall game was impressive and his leadership was so strategic and his acumen was one to watch and revere.

Bengal Wall – Can be Breached?

With solid and powerful defenders like Surjeet Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Shirkant Tewthia their defence looked unbreakable.

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Surjeet was so damn impressive when he packed off Rohit Kumar Chaudhary in the 1st half. He was so dominant literally even when he raided, there were hardly a tackle in the mind of Pultans. He literally got into a verbal spat with Sandeep Narwal at one point, the referee had to come and cool him off.

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Shrikant Tewthia was bloody good and made significant contributions in being a silent performer today with his strong tackles.

Bhupinder was ably good in supporting these two, but could have avoided the unsporting behavior of just standing and seeing the clock for last 15 seconds. At the final whistle, the scoreline was 25-19 in favor of Bengal.