NCR Punjab Royals dictated terms on Day 4 of the second edition of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) as they beat Mumbai Maharathi 4-3 at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.
Mumbai had an early advantage as they won the toss and decided to block the 53 kg women’s category, thus preventing the dangerous Odunayo Folasade Adekuoroye from contesting the tie. Punjab blocked the 74 kg men’s category, as Mumbai’s Jabrayil Hasanov had to sit out as well.
The opening bout of the tie was won by NCR Punjab Royals as their captain Vladimir Khinchegashvili used all his experience to overcome a stiff challenge from Mumbai Maharathi’s Rahul Aware.
Mumbai captain and Rio Olympics gold medallist Erica Wiebe drew level with Punjab in the next bout, staging a remarkable comeback to defeat Vasilisa Marzaliuk 4-2.
A highly engrossing bout followed this as Indian grapplers Pankaj Rana from Punjab and Pritam from Mumbai fought neck-and-neck in both the rounds of the men’s 70kg category.
The fourth bout was contested between Punjab’s Nirmla Devi and Mumbai’s Carolina Castillo Hidalgo in the 48 kg women’s category.
The 33-year-old Nirmla, a 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, used all the experience in her arsenal to win the contest 3-0.
Colombia-born Carolina struggled against Nirmla, playing a defensive game and giving away points. By virtue of this win, Punjab went up 3-1 in the tie.
For her brilliance on the mat, Nirmla Devi was adjudged Player of the Day.
Following this, Mumbai Maharathi’s Vikas Kumar took on Punjab’s Togrul Asgarov in a crucial fifth bout of men’s 65 kg category.
Mumbai’s Sarita kept fighting to salvage her team’s pride, as she won the 58 kg women’s category against Punjab’s Manju Kumari.
The final bout of the day was contested between Punjab’s Krishan Kumar and Mumbai’s Pavlo Oliynik in the heavyweight 97 kg men’s category in which the Ukrainian prevailed 2-0, denying his opponent any chance to score points.
Nirmla Devi appeared confident after her victory. “I felt very fresh and confident and put in my 100 percent in the match today. Happy with my performance but yes I wasn’t able to attack much,” she said.