The penultimate league stage match of the season saw Bengal Warriors contest a tense 37-37 tie against Telugu Titans at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Friday. Jang Kun Lee top-scored for Bengal with eight points and Nilesh Salunke was Hyderabad’s best player with seven points.
Hyderabad started the match with purpose and energy as Bengal opted to rest star man Maninder Singh ahead of the playoffs. Despite not starting with their main raider, the Warriors coped well by seeing off the Titans’ initial burst and enforcing the first All-Out of the match in the 10th minute for an 11-6 lead. Ravindra Ramesh Kumawat did well in do-or-die situations, while Deepak Narwal and Lee also played their part in giving Bengal the upper hand.
The Titans fought back courtesy of a smartly-improvised two-point raid by Salunke that caught Bengal’s defence napping. Hyderabad went on to inflict an All-Out of their own on Bengal shortly before the half-time interval to reduce the deficit to 18-16. The Warriors then regrouped and went in with a three-point lead at the break, however, it was still anyone’s game in the second period.
Bengal thought they’d taken control of the match seven minutes into the second half after inflicting another All-Out on Hyderabad to make it 30-24. Narwal and Lee continued their good work in offence, while skipper Surjeet Singh cut a commanding figure on the mat, calling the shots in defence.
Hyderabad substitute Rakshith though came off the bench to good effect and made quite an impact with two successful raids that helped set up an All-Out on Bengal. The All-Out gave Hyderabad a 36-34 lead and set up an exciting finish to the contest with less than four minutes to play.
The Zone B leaders dug deep with Surjeet and Lee delivering for them under massive pressure. A crucial tackle by the Bengal skipper was followed by a confident-boosting raid from Lee, which tied the game at 37-37.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.