A slip and a touch: The moment that decided the winners of PKL 9

Arjun Deshwal in action for Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Puneri Paltan in the final of PKL 9. PKL

Most finals, most clutch matches are decided by the tiniest of margins. There's that one moment which flips the game around. For Puneri Paltan, it was an inadvertent loss of footing that Jaipur Pink Panthers seized on to win the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 9) title on Saturday.

The man in question: Fazel Atrachali. PKL's most successful captain, defender and overseas player. He errs rarely, very rarely. But in Saturday's final, it made all the difference.

The scoreline read 27-22 in Jaipur Pink Panthers' favour but the match still hung in the balance. The raider in play was Arjun Deshwal, PKL 9's best raider.

Arjun began his raid from the left, shuffled across the mat a couple of times before charging straight at Fazel. The Iranian, hands locked with his countryman Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, would have swivelled away to safety 99 out of 100 times.

But that's where finals are decided... Fazel lost his feet while tracking back and stuttered. Arjun, who was five centimeters away, taggedhim on the shoulder and waltzed away with the point.

Fazel was on his haunches. He looked down at the mat and swiped his forehead. The mistake had been made and there was no turning back.

It was just one point and extended Jaipur Pink Panthers' lead to six, but it wasn't the effect on the scoreline that changed the game. It was the fact that Puneri Paltan was down to three men - Nabibakhsh, Gaurav Khatri and Abinesh Nadarajan. All three defenders. And the fact that Puneri Paltan are known to collapse when Fazel is off the mat.

That's exactly what happened.

Fazel trudged to the bench and coach BC Ramesh made his disappointment clear, but the captain remained in good spirits. All his three raiders - Akash Shinde, Aditya Shinde and Pankaj Mohite - were beside him and he continued to scheme with them on what they would do when they got on the mat. If they got on the mat. A big if.

Akash and Nabibakhsh offered Puneri Paltan some respite, but it was too little too late. And a helpless Fazel saw it all unfold on the bench. He was revived after close to ten minutes off the mat, but there were just 29 seconds on the clock. The game was well beyond reach at that point and Fazel wasn't going to get his hands on the trophy this time.

Jaipur Pink Panthers, on the other hand, did... after eight long years. Their first title since their triumph in the inaugural season back in 2014 and their second title at the venue - the NSCI Dome in Mumbai.

It was a deserved win -- given Jaipur Pink Panthers had topped the league stages easily and won their semifinal against Bengaluru Bulls in a most convincing fashion. What stood out, through this entire season, was that they won the big moments and the small moments: a quality of champions.