Tamil Thalaivas notched up their fourth win of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 9) season as they beat Telugu Titans 39-31 on Saturday.
While the result saw the Thalaivas move to the eighth spot on the table, the major talking point was: how did Ajinkya Pawar scalp six points in that raid with a minute to go?
What's the context?
So Tamil Thalaivas were leading 30-29 with a little over a minute and a half left. They were down to two men - captain Sagar Rathee and Ajinkya - and were staring at an All Out, which would have handed Telugu Titans a healthy lead.
In went Ajinkya, the side's secondary raider of the day, and it looked like he would look for a bonus at best. But what followed was pure madness: six Telugu Titans players, led by Iran's Mohsen Maghsoudlou flattened Ajinkya on the mat.
So...the Titans got the tackle point?
That's where the confusion kicks in. The Titans players piled on Ajinkya and there was no room for him to escape. The referee, who was six yards away, pointed both his palms downwards to signal the defenders to ease out of the tackle. This is usually done to ensure the raider doesn't suffer an injury and the whistle is blown a second or two later.
However, the referee here did not blow the whistle and the raid clock ticked on. And Ajinkya remained steadfast in his attempt to wriggle out of the tackle.
And Ajinkya managed to slip out?
You bet. Full marks to Ajinkya for playing to the whistle. The Titans' defenders thought they'd got the job done and began to retreat with wide smiles plastered on their faces. And that's when Ajinkya made his move - he leapt over the pile of bodies and crossed the midline. It was his turn to flash a wide smile while the Titans players remonstrated with the match officials.
- Tamil Thalaivas (@tamilthalaivas) November 5, 2022
Did the umpires make the right decision?
Although the line umpire gestured for the raid to be over, he did not blow the whistle. This technically meant the raid was still on and hence it was the right decision to hand Tamil Thalaivas the six points. Why he delayed blowing the whistle is a mystery and the Titans will continue to rue their luck: this was a game they should have won.
- Tamil Thalaivas (@tamilthalaivas) November 6, 2022
How did the decision impact the match?
Simply put, it handed Tamil Thalaivas the win. They got all their players back on the mat thanks to Ajinkya's heroics and had a seven-point lead at 36-29. Siddharth Desai, the lone Titans player who did not participate in the tackle, was taken out in the very next raid and Tamil Thalaivas' lead swelled to 10 points.
Telugu Titans, undone by a moment of madness, lost a game they should have won and went away empty-handed. They remain at the bottom of the table with just 10 points in 11 games and have a miserable points difference of -121.