Punjab Royals registered a superb 5-2 victory over Delhi Sultans despite the home team captain Sakshi Malik and her fiancé Satyavart Kadian's heroics in the second edition of the Pro Wrestling League in Delhi on Sunday.
Punjab took the upper hand with an early 3-0 lead but Satyavart and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi managed to keep Delhi Sultans’ hopes alive with back-to-back wins.
Azerbaijan's star wrestler Togrul Zasgarov however dashed Delhi's hopes as he wrapped up the tie in Punjab's favour in just 30 seconds for a rather comfortable victory, with the last bout of the evening still remaining.
Punjab won the toss and blocked the 48 kg Women's category, implying that Delhi's prized pick Mariya Stadnik had to sit out for the match. Delhi, in turn, blocked the 70 kg Men's category.
In the first bout of the day, Rio Games champion Vladimir Khinchegashvili lived up to his reputation to post a comfortable 8-1 win over Delhi's Pankaj in the 57 kg category and gave Punjab an early lead.
The highlight of the evening was the second bout between the two Indians -- Punjab's Jitender and Praveen Rana of Delhi -- in men's 74kg, in which the former registered a come-from-behind victory to extend his team's lead to 2-0.
Rana started off brilliantly and stole four points to lead 4-0 after round one, but Jitender fought back strongly in the second round. After acquiring a point, Jitender gained two more by overpowering Rana. With just a minute to go, Jitender continued to attack and managed to once again pin down his rival for another two crucial points in the dying minutes of the match to wrap it up in style, winning 5-4.
The youngest Phogat sister, Sangeeta, representing Delhi Sultans, faced a much stronger opponent in Odunayo Folasade Adekuoroye in women's 53kg. In the very first minute of the bout the dangerous Nigerian wrestler proved her mettle. By the end of the opening round, she had already added 12 points to her kitty.
It turned out to be a cakewalk for the Nigerian, who won the contest 15-0 via technical superiority in just three minutes and 59 seconds.
With Punjab leading 3-0, the onus was on Satyavart Kadian to keep Delhi Sultans' chances alive and he made his intentions clear with two early points against Krishan Kumar in men's 97kg. Putting up a dominating show, Satyavart added two more points before conceding one to lead 4-1 at the break.
In round two also Satyavart continued to extend his points by putting down his opponent and flipping him over. Although Krishan managed to gain a couple of points towards the end, Satyavart won it for Delhi 14-4 in the end.
After her fiance's heroics, Sakshi hardly had to break a sweat in the opening round against Manju Kumari of Punjab in women's 58kg. She won four easy points to lead 4-0 after round one.
The second round was no different with Sakshi once again ruling the roost with her dominating performance to eventually clinch the bout 10-0.
Delhi's key player Bajrang Punia opted out owing to a knee injury and his replacement Surjeet Singh went down tamely to Rio Games silver medallist and London Olympics champion Togrul Asgarov 6-0 in just 30 second in men's 65kg.
Due to Togrul's fabulous show, Punjab won the match comfortably with one bout to go. In the inconsequential final bout, Vasilisa Marzaliuk got the better of Alina Makhynia 2-1.
(With inputs from PTI.)