Ajay Kumar’s heroic final raid earned the Gujarat Giants three points, as they played out a thrilling 31-31 tie against Puneri Paltan. The result helped the Giants climb into the top six of the points table. They sit two points ahead of the Paltan, who have a game in hand.
The Paltan were in the ascendancy early and raced to a 4-1 lead, courtesy of two raid points from Aslam Inamdar and a point each from Sombir and Mohit Goyat. But Hadi Oshtorak’s incredible Dash against Inamdar and a Super Raid from Ajay saw Gujarat pull ahead on the scoreboard.
Two more touch points from the Giants’ raiders left the Paltan with a solitary man on the mat. Goyat kept the All Out at bay with a two-point raid, but just couple of raids later, Gujarat inflicted it and took an 11-8 lead.
The Giants extended their lead to four and threatened to pull away on the scoreboard, but Inamdar, Goyat and Nitin Tomar kept their side within touching distance. Rakesh’s two-point raid late in the half saw Gujarat’s increase their advantage to six, but a 2-1 run in the final minute ensured the Paltan go into the break trailing by five.
After a cagey start to the second half, Inamdar and Goyat helped their side cut the deficit to just two. Abinesh Nadarajan’s strong Dash on Rakesh and Goyat’s touch point levelled the scores and reduced the Giants to a solitary man on the mat.
The Paltan’s defence sat deep and waited for the right opportunity to pin down Mahendra Rajput to inflict an All Out on the Giants and take a two-point lead. The advantage didn’t last long, as Inamdar’s self out and Ajay’s touch point added two unanswered points to the Giants’ total to restore parity on the scoreboard.
The Paltan pulled ahead on the scoreboard by a point, but a two-point raid from Rakesh saw Gujarat reclaim the lead. Inamdar and Vishal Bhardwaj returned the favour, as they added two unanswered points to the Paltan’s total to give them the lead with less than a minute left in the game.
In the game’s final raid, Ajay went in and threatened to pick up a bonus, which drew an Ankle Hold attempt from Inamdar which the raider easily escaped to ensure the game finished in a tie.
Best Raider – Rakesh (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Hadi Oshtorak (3 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Mohit Goyat (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sombir (5 Tackle Points)