Gujarat Giants inched closer to a play-offs spot after registering a comprehensive 41-32 victory over Bengal Warriors in Kolkata on Friday.
In the second match of the day, Haryana Steelers laid on a masterclass to beat the UP Yoddhas 50-34. In a superb team performance, Shivam Patare (12 points) and Vinay (10 points) stole the show and the game away from the Yoddhas to consolidate their position on the table and stay in a strong position for the play-offs.
The Giants moved to the fourth spot in the Pro Kabaddi League standings with 60 points from 19 matches.
Maninder Singh picked up a few raid points as the Warriors inched ahead at 5-3 in the 5th minute. Fazel Atrachali pulled off a brilliant tackle against Nitin Kumar, but the Warriors still held the lead at 6-4 in the 8th minute.
However, Parteek Dahiya effected a magnificent raid to take out Akshay Kumar, Vaibhav Garje and Jaskirat Singh and hand the Giants the lead at 8-6.
The Gujarat side rode on the momentum and inflicted an all-out to take a decent lead at 12-7 in the 12th minute. Dahiya pulled off another super raid soon after as the Giants continued to extend their lead. Nitin Kumar caught out Rohit Gulia and Deepak Singh in the dying minutes of the first half, but the Giants held the lead at 18-14 at the end of the first half.
Dahiya carried out a super raid in the opening minutes of the second half as the Giants attained a massive lead at 21-14. Moments later, the Giants inflicted an all-out to extend their lead even more.
However, Maninder Singh effected a couple of raids and reduced the Giants to just one member on the mat in the 31st minute. The Warriors carried out an all-out soon after and reduced the gap between the two sides at 26-33.
But Rakesh sealed the deal for the Giants after he pulled off a super raid to take out Akshay Kumar, Vaibhav Garje and Shubham Shinde as the Giants walked off with a comprehensive victory.
Haryana Steelers boost play-off hopes
The Steelers, who have been known for their defensive solidity all season, showed a different side of their game tonight.
Right from the off, Vinay hit the ground running, and the Yoddhas had barely collected themselves before suffering their first all-out as the Steelers took a 9-2 lead. The hammering continued through the half, Patare and Vinay never letting up, and at the other end, the Steelers defence kept the Yoddhas raiding duo fairly quiet. A second all-out came with two minutes until half-time, and the Steelers went into the break leading 27-12.
The stark difference in quality between the two sides was reflected on both ends of the mat, as the Steelers outscored the Yoddhas by almost twice the points in raids as well as tackles through the first half. Mahipal, the one bright spark for the Yoddhas wasn't enough to keep them in the game.
The Yoddhas seemed to have wrested back control of the game in the second half, and despite Mohit Nandal's super tackle to stave off an inspired comeback, they inflicted an all-out of their own to reduce the gap.
The fight back was temporary, as the Steelers regrouped and took charge once again. A pair of super tackles by Harender Kumar, seemed to re=instill a sense of belief in the Yoddhas, but they could not stop the bleeding. A third all-out with four minutes of the game left proved to be the nail in the coffin as the Steelers took a deserved victory.