A late surge in the second half from the Bengaluru Bulls fell just short, as the Bengal Warriors won 40-39. The Bulls were in control of proceedings midway through the second half, but an eight-point raid from Mohammad Nabibakhsh turned the tide of the contest. With this win, the Warriors extended their unbeaten run to four games and climbed to fourth on the points table.
The Warriors were off to a stellar start and took a 4-0 lead, courtesy of two points from Maninder, one from Sukesh Hegde, and Abozar Mighani’s spectacular Thigh Hold on Sehrawat. The Bulls, though, stormed their way back into the game with a 6-2 run, with their defence picking up three tackle points and Chandran Ranjit adding up a couple to bring parity to the scoreboard.
Nabibakhsh and Amit helped the Warriors score three unanswered points to reclaim the lead, but the Bulls defence came to their team’s rescue again, with two magnificent tackles that cut the deficit back to a solitary point. Both teams added three more points to their total in the final few minutes of the half, as they headed into the break with the Warriors leading 14-13.
Ranjit and Sehrawat were unstoppable early in the second half, as the Bulls’ raiding duo picked up four touch points to reduce the Warriors to a solitary man on the mat. Bengaluru’s defence sat deep and allowed Hegde to pick up the bonus before pinning him down to inflict the game’s first All Out and a 20-17 lead.
Five touch points in five raids from Sehrawat and a couple of tackle points from the Bulls’ defence left the Warriors with a solitary man on the mat again, as Bengaluru closed in on inflicting another All Out.
Mohammad Nabibakhsh, the Warriors’ final man on the mat, picked up the bonus and was pinned down by the Bulls defence, which should have added three more points to the Bulls’ total. But a review from the Iranian all-rounder revealed that he had stepped in the lobby before getting a touch, and all seven Bulls players had entered the lobby to tackle him, rendering them all out.
The review turned the game on its head, as it gave the Warriors eight points and the Bulls one and reduced Bengaluru to a solitary man on the mat. The Warriors defence sat deep and allowed Ranjit to pick up the bonus before tackling him down to inflict an All Out and give Bengal a three-point cushion on the scoreboard.
Maninder, Nabibakhsh and Ran Singh then helped the Warriors extend their advantage to six points with less than five minutes left in the game. The Warriors deployed a conservative approach, which allowed Bharat Naresh to pick up two bonus points and a touch point in three raids while taking minimal time off the clock, giving the Bulls a shot at a comeback.
Sehrawat then came in and picked up a bonus but took almost 15 seconds to do so, leaving just over a minute on the clock. An empty raid, followed by an intentional advanced tackle attempt on Sehrawat by the Warriors defence, cut the Bulls deficit to two.
But with only 29 seconds left on the clock, Sukesh Hegde, who came in for a Do-or-die raid, stood at the midline and watched the clock wind down to zero to give up a point but ensure victory for his side.
Best Raider – Maninder Singh (8 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Abozar Mighani (3 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Pawan Sehrawat (13 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Saurabh Nandal (4 Tackle Points)