Deepak Niwas Hooda led by example as Jaipur Pink Panthers held the in-form Haryana Steelers to a 32-all tie in their Pro-Kabaddi fixture at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Eyeing a sixth successive win, Haryana Steelers got off to a solid start and led by four points at half time, but Hooda came up with 14 raid points from 22 attempts to help the Jaipur outfit salvage a draw.
In fact, Jaipur will rue their missed chances as they held a one-point lead with less than a minute left on the clock.
But a final minute blunder by Jaipur’s Sachin Narwal helped Steelers draw level as they squandered a great opportunity move to the fifth spot.
At second place, Haryana now have 49 points, 10 less than Dabang Delhi from 14 matches, while Jaipur are outside top six with 41 points.
The teams went into the match with contrasting forms as Haryana were on a roll with five wins, while Pink Panthers had lost four games on the trot.
Jaipur started the match brightly as Pink Panthers had to rely on Hooda’s raiding prowess and the captain secured seven raid points in the first half.
The Pink Panthers inflicted an all-out on the Steelers in the 16th minute to open a six-point gap.
Haryana bounced back with the help of raider Vikas Khandola who was ably supported by Prashanth Kumar Rai.
Khandola’s five-point raid in the dying minutes of the first half gave the Steelers their first all-out of the match and brought about a change in momentum.
The first half ended with Haryana leading Jaipur 18-14.
Haryana maintained their dominance in the second half, with Vinay also taking up the raiding duties.
Pink Panthers’ lack of quality support raiders for Deepak Hooda hurt them badly as Haryana’s defence held firm.
Ravi Kumar picked up a High 5 for Haryana but Deepak Hooda produced a series of successful raids to make it three-point game going into the final minutes.
Hooda also secured a Super 10 and also a personal milestone of 800 raid points in the process.
The Pink Panthers’ teamwork helped them to another all-out with four minutes left on the clock to make it a nervous end to the match for both sides.
However, Jaipur’s errors allowed Haryana to force a share of the spoils.
Bengal Warriors survive late U Mumba scare
Bengal Warriors produced a composed performance to beat U Mumba 29-26 in a closely-fought second Pro Kabaddi League match in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Sukesh Hegde (8 points) and Mohammad Nabibakhsh (4 tackle points) were the stars for the home side who had to rely on a Super Tackle by Rinku Narwal in the final minute to seal the match in front of their fans.
U Mumba will take positives from the match despite the defeat with Arjun Deshwal impressing with a career-best tally of 14 raid points (15 in total).
The home side started on the backfoot as young Arjun Deshwal, on the back of a match-winning performance for Mumbai on Tuesday, started the game with a three-point Super Raid.
U Mumba’s recent turn in form has largely been down to the improved raiding from the duo of Arjun and Abhishek Singh but Bengal Warriors ensured they didn’t run away with the game after the initial minutes.
Maninder Singh, Nabibakhsh and Hegde (replacing K Prapanjan in the line-up) soon got their act together as they capitalised on a poor defensive performance from U Mumba.
The Warriors clinched their first all-out of the match in the 16th minute of the match to open up a six-point lead. However, Deshwal’s Super Raid in the dying minutes of the half reduced the margin to three and the sides took the break with scores at 16-13 in favour of Bengal.
The second half was a repeat of the first – U Mumba’s good work in the raids undone by errors in the defence.
Deshwal raced to his Super 10 for the Mumbai unit but Bengal maintained their lead without having to break a sweat. Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh impressed with his tackling while Sukesh Hegde proved to be an able replacement for Prapanjan as the home side clung on their lead.
Fazel Atrachali’s calming presence on the mat rubbed off on U Mumba’s young raiders and they repaid his faith to cut the lead to a point with under a minute remaining. But Rinku came up with a massive Super Tackle in the final minute to seal the match for the home side.
On Thursday, the Pink Panthers will return to take on Patna Pirates before Bengal Warriors sign off their home leg against Bengaluru Bulls.
|RANK||TEAM||MATCHES PLAYED||WON||LOST||DRAW||Score Difference||POINTS|
|1||DABANG DELHI K.C||14||11||2||1||56||59|
|7||JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS||14||7||6||1||3||41|