A low-scoring, back-and-forth thriller finished with the Patna Pirates beating the Gujarat Giants 27-26. With this victory, Patna climbed to second on the points table, just two behind league-leaders Dabang Delhi K.C.
The Pirates were in the ascendancy early and raced to a 5-2 lead courtesy of a couple of points each from Prashanth Kumar Rai and the defence and another from Sachin. The Giants’ cover duo of Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar combined to cut the deficit to one point with a Super Tackle on Monu Goyat, but Patna responded with three unanswered points to leave Gujarat with a solitary man on the mat.
Mahendra Rajput came off the bench and revived a player with a touch point, but Rai quickly reduced the Giants back down to one with a touch point of his own. With his team staring at an All Out, Hadi Oshtorak showcased his all-round brilliance. He first picked a bonus and a touch point to revive a player and then Super Tackled Rai to add two more points to his team’s tally to give them a one-point lead.
Rakesh then added another to extend the Giants’ lead to two, but the Pirates quickly pegged them back with two unanswered points to level the scores. Sachin then escaped a Back Hold attempt from Oshtorak to reduce the Giants down to a solitary man, and on this occasion, the Pirates made no mistake in pinning the raider to inflict the game’s first All Out.
Rajput scored the final point of the half, as the two teams went into the halftime break with the Pirates leading by two.
The Giants drew level on the scoreboard four minutes into the second half, courtesy of a 3-1 run. Rakesh Narwal and Ankit combined to add another tackle point to Gujarat’s total and reduced the Pirates to just three on the mat. Pirates’ Sajin took advantage of the situation, Super Tackling Rakesh and Rajput in quick succession to help the Pirates reclaim their two-point lead.
Shubham Shinde and Rai extended Patna’s lead to four, but the Giants fought back to cut it to two with less than five minutes left in the game. In a crucial Do-or-die raid, Pirates skipper Rai escaped an Ankle Hold and tagged another defender on his way to the midline to push his team’s lead back up to four points.
Rakesh and Rajput added two points to their team’s total to cut the deficit to a couple of points with 30 seconds left. Rai went in for the game’s final raid in a Do-or-die situation and watched the clock run down before attempting to pick a bonus in the final few seconds. He failed in his attempt and surrendered a point but ensured the Pirates won the game.
Best Raider – Prashanth Kumar Rai (8 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sajin C (5 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Mahendra Rajput (7 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Ankit (3 Tackle Points)