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Pune kick-off IPKL on winning note


Pune, May 13: Hosts Pune Pride's Indo-International Premier League (IPKL) campaign got off to a perfect start with an overwhelming 43-34 win over the Haryana Heroes at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi on Monday.

Riding on the performance of their inspirational captain and raider Abdul Sheikh, who scored 18 raid points and was also declared the Star of the Match, Pune scored big at crucial junctures of the match to register a comfortable victory.

Jitendra Yadav was the other star for Pune, inflicting 12 tackles besides 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 which kicked off its inaugural edition with performances by Kayanat Arora and dance group MJ5, among others.

The first of the four 10-minute quarters ended with Pune coming from behind to lead 9-7. 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 at 18-17.

Meanwhile, the diminutive Abdul Sheikh was beginning to have his influence in the game and it was his valuable two-point raid in the dying seconds of the second quarter that got Pune within one point of Haryana.

He continued his good work at the start of the third quarter, 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. The quarter 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 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 victory.

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