Haryana Steelers beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-37 in a nail-biting Pro Kabaddi encounter to secure a place in the Season seven playoffs on Monday.
Vikas Kandola was once again the star for the home side, picking up a Super 10, as the Steelers produced a successful tackle in the buzzer raid of the match to edge the thriller at the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula.
Gujarat, on the back of a massive 29-point victory against Tamil Thalaivas, started the match strongly. Rohit Gulia and Sonu impressed with their raids while at the other end a tight Gujarat defence ensured Haryana’s Vikas Khandola was not given space to wreak havoc.
Rohit Gulia’s three-point super raid in the early minutes set the pace for Gujarat who edged Haryana in all departments to clinch an all-out in the 9th minute of the match.
Haryana’s over-reliance on Khandola for the raid points was once again visible as the home side struggled to get a grip of the match.
Despite a brief period of control after the all-out, the Haryana team struggled again in the dying minutes to go down to just three men on the mat at half time with Gujarat leading 19-14.
The home side started the second half on the front foot though and reduced the Gujarat team to just three men in the early minutes. But once again, Haryana could not push home the numerical advantage and squandered the opportunity to inflict an all-out to allow Gujarat back in the game.
Amit’s super tackle in the sixth minute of the match proved to be crucial for Gujarat who then went to open up a lead once again.
However, the momentum once again shifted to the home side after Khandola was revived as he picked up a 3-point super raid to reduce Gujarat’s lead to one point.
But Rohit Gulia produced a super tackle on Khandola as Haryana wasted another opportunity to clinch an all-out with under 7 minutes left in the match.
But Khandola picked his game up just at the right time to clinch successive multi-point raids to finally give Haryana the all-out and a one-point lead with under 4 minutes left in the match.
A nail-biting finish to match saw Gujarat level the points with a tackle on Khandola with one second left on the clock but ended up losing the match in the final raid of the match as Rohit Gulia was tackled by the four-man Steelers unit. Gulia had to go for the win to keep Gujarat’s chances of qualifying of the playoffs realistic. But it was not to be for Gulia as Steelers sneaked the points to leave Gujarat Fortunegiants on the brink of elimination.
Delhi seal semi-final spot, Pune crash out
Naveen Kumar was once again the star for Dabang Delhi KC as they ousted Puneri Paltan from the Pro-Kabaddi League with 60-40 victory in the earlier on Sunday.
Naveen, the talented raider picked up his 17th consecutive Super 10 as Delhi produced a near-flawless performance to end the Paltan’s campaign in this season’s Pro Kabaddi.
Delhi, as expected, started on the front foot, with their raider-in-chief Naveen Kumar looking unstoppable. The 19-year-old raider picked points at will, pulling out the acrobatic moves in the process, as the Delhi side inflicting an all-out on Pune in the 7th minute of the match.
Pune were badly missing the services of their raider Pankaj Mohite, who missed out due to a fever. Their raiders struggled as Ravinder Pahal (completed 50 tackle points for the season) and Joginder Narwal, the corners for Delhi, also got into the game with successful tackles.
Naveen kept adding to his points tally as he clinched a personal record of becoming the fastest player to secure 400 raid points in the PKL history.
The Delhi side secured their second all-out with 7 minutes remaining to half time to open up a 14-point lead.
Manjeet was once again the only positive player on the mat for Pune and his valiant efforts in the raids allowed the side to cling on to the hope of coming back into the match. The first half ended 30-16 with Delhi on top.
The second half turned out to be much of the same with Delhi dominating in all departments and running out winners by a massive 20-point margin.
The win ensured that Delhi will finish in the top two which means they get a direct entry into the semi-finals.
On Monday, U Mumba would look to inch closer to qualification when they face struggling Tamil Thalaivas. In the second game, the league’s top two teams Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors clash in a crucial game for the top spot.
|RANK||TEAM||MATCHES PLAYED||WON||LOST||DRAW||Score Difference||POINTS|
|1||DABANG DELHI (Q)||19||15||2||2||92||82|
|2||BENGAL WARRIORS (Q)||19||12||4||3||86||73|
|3||HARYANA STEELERS (Q)||19||12||6||1||24||65|
|7||JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS||20||8||10||2||-18||52|
|9||PUNERI PALTAN (E)||20||6||11||3||-71||42|
|12||TAMIL THALAIVAS (E)||19||3||13||3||-113||30|