Bengal Warriors played out a nerve-wracking 31-31 tie against Dabang Delhi K.C. at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium to bring an end to the Kolkata leg on Thursday. Maninder Singh top-scored for Bengal with 13 points and Anand Patil was Delhi’s best performer with nine points.
It was a slow start to the match with Delhi boasting a slender 5-3 advantage heading into the final 10 minutes of the half. Bengal levelled things up soon after but neither side was really stamping their authority on the match.
The hosts, however, surged ahead a little with an All-Out on Delhi in the 17th minute to take a 12-10 lead. The half ended with do-or-die raids for both teams: the Bengal one being unsuccessful, while Delhi’s ended in success to make it 12-12 at the break.
The second period got underway with Bengal upping the ante in attack as Delhi’s defence struggled to cope with Maninder and Vinod Kumar’s raiding prowess. They inflicted a second All-Out on Delhi in the 26th minute after a Maninder raid to make it 21-13 in favour of Bengal.
Maninder’s influence on the match kept growing as the half developed but a two-point raid by Delhi’s Patil thwarted Bengal’s momentum slightly. Not like it made much of a difference though as Maninder continued demonstrating his calmness, strength and poise while raiding.
The star raider from Bengal brought up his Super 10 in the 33rd minute with a bonus point but Patil was also proving to be effective in attack for Delhi and managed a super raid from the next raid of the match. It set up an All-Out on Bengal to make it a two-point game at 26-24 with a little over six minutes to play. Delhi skipper Meraj Sheykh effected the All-Out but it came at a cost as he picked up an injury which kept him on the bench for the remainder of the match. When the action resumed Maninder kept up his assault on Delhi’s defence with a two-point raid.
The last five minutes of the second half saw both teams adopt contrasting styles of attack with Bengal attacking in an increasingly circumspect fashion, while Delhi raiding frantically to overturn the deficit. In the end, however, the Warriors lost their composure and made costly errors in defence as Patil picked up crucial raid points in the final minute of the match to make sure Delhi didn’t return empty-handed.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.