A dogged defensive display helped the Gujarat Giants register a 34-27 victory over the Jaipur Pink Panthers on Thursday. Left Corner Girish Ernak starred for the Giants, scoring seven tackle points, while raider Rakesh Narwal led the way in attack with seven raid points.
The game was a tight affair over the opening few minutes, with both teams finding it difficult to pile points on the scoreboard. The Pink Panthers held a four-point lead when two strong tackles from Girish Ernak and some good work from the Giants’ raiders saw Gujarat score five straight points and leave Jaipur with just two players on the mat. Rakesh got them both in the same raid to help the Giants inflict the game’s first All Out and take a 13-7 lead.
Arjun Deshwal’s two-point raid ended the Giants’ 13-point run and kickstarted the Pink Panthers’ comeback. They outscored Gujarat 5-1 and reduced them to two on the mat. A Super Tackle from Parvesh Bhainswal stalled the All Out, but Deshwal ensured the Pink Panthers cash in on their advantage, taking out the remaining two players and helping the Panthers inflict an All Out. The teams headed into halftime with the Giants leading by 2.
The Pink Panthers carried their momentum into the second half and were the aggressors from the get-go. The Giants continued to resist but eventually the Panthers snatched the lead, courtesy of Deshwal, who completed his Super 10 midway through the half, and some strong work from their defence.
But the Giants stormed back to life and embarked on a 6-2 run to take back the lead and reduce the Pink Panthers down to just two players on the mat. A self-out and a Bhainswal block saw the Giants inflict an All Out and take a 33-27 lead with under a minute left in the contest. Ernak, the star of the show for the Giants, added another tackle point to his tally for good measure, as Gujarat commenced their campaign with a victory.
Best Raider – Rakesh Narwal (7 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Girish Maruti Ernak (7 Tackle Points)
Jaipur Pink Panthers
Best Raider – Arjun Deshwal (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sandeep Dhull (3 Tackle Points)