PKL 5 weekly round-up: Thalaivas flop at home, Telugu Titans win big

Puneri Paltan squandered a lead of 12 points with 11 minutes left but managed to beat UP Yoddha 34-33. Pro Kabaddi League

From a team's disastrous home leg to the largest margin of victory in the league, ESPN looks at the movers and shakers from the tenth week of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 5.

Who impressed, who disappointed

The Puneri Paltan held on to beat UP Yoddha 34-33 after squandering a lead of 12 points with 11 minutes left on the clock. That they still won was largely due to captain Deepak Niwas Hooda, who scored 17 points despite injuring his hand during play.

Dabang Delhi, the perennial underperformers of PKL, appeared to be trying to turn things around this season with some new appointments, including that of Iranian Meraj Sheykh as captain. Sheykh's leadership, however, has not worked for Delhi, who are now in the midst of a nine-match losing streak -- including losing all six home matches last week -- with their last victory coming a month ago. With their hopes of making the Playoffs ruled out, Delhi had only pride to play for, but slumped to a 22-42 loss to Gujarat Fortunegiants. Sheykh, an otherwise dependable all-rounder, has struggled to communicate with his players and failed to score a single point from his seven raids and three tackles against Gujarat.

Panga of the week

Gujarat have been among the best teams this season, balanced in attack and defence and well-led by Sukesh Hegde to sit atop Zone A. Two-time defending champions Patna Pirates have been just as unstoppable as they were in the last two seasons and are leading Zone B, thanks in large part to raider Pardeep Narwal, who has already amassed close to 250 raid points in 19 matches. The clash of these two heavyweights was as competitive as expected, with Gujarat's defence, led by Parvesh Bhainswal and Abozar Mighani, quelling Patna's attack to eke out a tight 30-29 win.

Tactical genius and dud

Defender Rohit Rana captained the Telugu Titans against the Thalaivas, a move which paid off spectacularly as the Titans won 58-37, the largest margin of victory in the PKL. Rana's captaincy also freed up Rahul Chaudhari, who scored 16 raid points in the match.

Ajay Thakur, the star of India's World Cup-winning effort last year, has performed well individually but his captaincy hasn't worked for the Thalaivas, who have suffered from an overdependence on Thakur as well as a crippling tendency to concede matches from a winning position in the last few minutes. Tamil Nadu, despite its long history of kabaddi, waited three years for a taste of PKL at home, but the Thalaivas were unable to give the fans a single victory, losing all six of their home games.

Upcoming star

Returning from an injury layoff that lasted over a month, 19-year-old Vikas Kandola, easily one of the finds of this season, picked up from where he'd left off, scoring eight raid points in Haryana Steelers' 41-30 win over U Mumba.

International khiladi

Iranian raider Mohsen Maghsoudlou was one of four Titans raiders who scored a Super 10 in his team's 58-37 win over the Thalaivas. Maghsoudlou also contributed to his team's effort in defence, scoring two tackle points to contribute to the Titans' excellent all-round performance.

Team of the week

Having won both their matches this week, Pune are third in Zone A, but have played four matches less than top-placed Gujarat. Pune can take top spot if they win their next two matches, a possibility that seems likely given their depth in raiding and defence and the fact that they've displayed no major weaknesses so far.

Final word

With the final just over three weeks away and injuries to players -- Hooda and Kandola, among others -- during matches increasing, teams will have to walk a fine line between fielding key players in order to get those crucial last few points and ensuring they stay healthy for the Playoffs.