Pro Wrestling League's new entrants, Jaipur Ninjas, continued their brilliant run in the ongoing second edition of the tournament with a 4-3 win over Delhi Sultans, led by star Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik, in New Delhi on Friday.
Jaipur had it easy against Delhi as they rode on the brilliant performance by the Georgian duo of Elizbar Odikadze and Jakob Makarashvili, Olympic medallist Jenny Fransson and emerging Indian wrestler Vinod Kumar Omprakash to take an unassailable 4-1 lead after five bouts out of a total of seven.
Sakshi, who played the sixth bout, led 8-0 after the first round against Pooja Dhanda in women's 58kg weight division.
Starting off with a point, she studied her rival carefully before pinning her down and flipping her over to take a huge opening round lead.
Having taken the mat for the first time after the Rio Games, Sakshi never looked as if she was away from the arena for so long, as the 24-year-old kept increasing the points in the second round as well and won it 16-0 via technical superiority in 5 minutes and 32 seconds.
Earlier, Sakshi's fiance Satyawart Kadian, who is also representing Delhi Sultans, could hardly pose a threat to Elizbar Odikadze of Georgia in the men s 97kg weight division in the first bout of the evening.
Satyawart, who had gone down to Elizbar in season one, faced the same fate this time around as well, getting thrashed 0-8 at the hands of the Georgian grappler. With Elizbar's win, Jaipur took an early 1-0 lead.
The next bout saw two-time Olympic silver medallist Mariya Stadnik of Azerbaijan face 2016 Commonwealth champion Ritu Phogat.
Ritu, with her limited international exposure, tried hard but failed to match up to the three-time Olympic medalist and went down 0-16 in just 3 minutes and 20 seconds in the women's 48kg.
In the first round, Mariya had acquired six points, even as Ritu showed some resistance, but in round two, the Azerbaijani took just 20 seconds to gain 10 points at a stretch to wrap up the contest in style and level the tie at 1-1.
Another Georgian, Jakob Makarashvili, handed the lead back to Jaipur by getting the better of Delhi's Praveen Rana 10-7 in a closely fought encounter.
Rana opened the account with a point in the opening round of the men's 74kg before Jakob earned two to lead 2-1 at the break.
The second round was a neck-and-neck battle with fortunes swinging from one end to the other. It was the Indian wrestler who earned four points to lead 5-2 at one stage before the Georgian won four on the trot to make it 6-5. Rana continued to fight and gained two more points to lead 7-6. With just a minute to go, Jakob came back strongly to overpower the Indian, winning three points to win the bout.
Rio Olympics bronze medallist Jenny Fransson of Jaipur Ninjas proved too strong for Alina Makhynia of Delhi in the women's 75kg. Leading 3-0 after round one, Jenny notched a comfortable 5-0 win over Alina to extend Jaipur Ninjas lead to 3-1.
Vinod Kumar Omprakash then helped Jaipur take an unbeaten 4-1 lead with a 2-0 win over David Tlashadze of Delhi Sultans.
The surprise package of the Jaipur Ninjas, Utkarsh Kale, who fought aggressively against the Olympic and world champion Vladimir Khinchegashvili of Punjab in the previous match, failed to put up a similar show against the world championship bronze medallist Erdenebat Bekhbayar of Mongolia, going down 1-2 in the men's 57kg.