A stellar comeback from Tamil Thalaivas in the second half helped them secure a 30-30 tie against Dabang Delhi K.C. on Saturday. Naveen Kumar scored his 26th consecutive Super 10, while Manjeet finished the night with 10 points.
It was Naveen versus the Thalaivas in the opening 10 minutes, as the mercurial raider matched them point-for-point to ensure they didn’t pull away on the scoreboard. With the scores level, a strong tackle from the Thalaivas’ defence sent Naveen to the bench, which was the opening they were looking for. They added four more unanswered points to their total to take a five-point lead and leave Delhi with just two men on the mat.
Manjeet went to raid hoping to get the Thalaivas closer to inflicting an All Out. But he was promptly Super Tackled Jeeva Kumar and Sandeep Narwal, which revived Naveen and kickstarted a 7-0 run that saw Delhi take a 16-14 lead into the break.
Bhavani Rajput levelled the scores with his first raid in the second half, but Naveen and the defence combined to take out the final two Thalaivas players on the mat to inflict the game’s first All Out and take a 20-17 lead.
The Thalaivas had no answer to Naveen’s raiding prowess, as the raider helped Delhi embark on an 8-3 run that extended their lead to eight and left their opponents with just a couple of players on the mat. Staring at an All Out, the Thalaivas looked toward captain Surjeet Singh for inspiration, and the veteran did not disappoint. The skipper and corner Sagar combined brilliantly to help the Thalaivas pick up three Super Tackles in quick succession to cut Delhi’s lead to just two.
Manjeet’s assured Running Hand Touch on Joginder Narwal cut the Thalaivas’ deficit to one. Substitute Ajinkya Pawar then threw a stellar tackle to pin down Ashu Malik before picking up a raid point to give the Thalaivas the lead.
With his team trailing by a point and down to two men on the mat, Sandeep Narwal went in to raid in a Do-or-die situation in what would be the decisive moment of the contest. He tried to get a Running Hand Touch to no avail but was bailed out by an advanced tackle attempt that he quickly powered past to level the score.
The Thalaivas did not take any risks in the final raid of the match and ensured they took three points from the contest.
Dabang Delhi K.C.
Best Raider – Naveen Kumar (15 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Jeeva Kumar (3 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Manjeet (9 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sagar (6 Tackle Points)