A spirited comeback in the second half saw U Mumba fell just short, as Ajay Kumar’s raid point in the final minute rescued a 24-24 tie for Gujarat Giants. U Mumba Right Corner Rinku registered a High 5, while raider V Ajith Kumar was the game’s top scorer with eight points. The result saw U Mumba climb to sixth on the points, one clear of Tamil Thalaivas, who have a game in hand.
The Giants were in the ascendancy early and took a 5-1 lead, courtesy of two raid points from Ajay Kumar and Rakesh and a tackle point from Girish Ernak. Ajinkya Kapre and U Mumba’s defence helped their side cut the deficit to three, but a two-point raid from Rakesh Narwal pushed the Giants’ lead back up to five.
An error from Rakesh Narwal and Abhishek Singh’s two-point raid saw U Mumba claw to within two on the scoreboard. But Narwal and Ajay added two unanswered points to the Giants’ total to help them retain their four-point advantage. U Mumba outscored the Giants by one point in the final two minutes of the first half, as the two teams went into halftime with the Giants lead 13-10.
Rinku and Ajith added a point to respective tallies and helped U Mumba cut the deficit to just one point early in the second half. But just when U Mumba clawed their way back into the game, the Giants embarked on a 4-0 run, with Rakesh Narwal scoring two and Parvesh Bhainswal and Ernak adding one tackle point each.
With their team pegged on the back foot and left with just two players on the mat, Rinku and captain Fazel Atrachali stepped up, and Super Tackled Rakesh to cut the Giants’ lead to three. Ajith, who was revived after the Super Tackle, picked up four raid points in just a couple of minutes and levelled the scores as 22-22.
Substitute Hadi Oshtorak sent Ajith back to the bench with an assured Thigh Hold to give Gujarat the lead. Harender brought parity to the scoreline with a stellar Ankle Hold on Rakesh. Abhishek then gave U Mumba the lead for only the second time in the game with the faintest touch on Sunil Kumar.
In the game’s penultimate raid, Ajay tried to bait the U Mumba defence by faking a bonus attempt. The defence helped their nerve for close to 20 seconds before Rahul Sethpal rushed across the mat to Dash the raider out of bounds. But Ajay managed to escape the tackle and get his hand across the midline to bring parity to the scoreline.
Abhishek went in for the game’s final raid and tried to lure one of the Giants defenders into a tackle, who did not budge from their positions. The raider did not venture deep and saw the clock wind down to zero before returning to his side of the mat to ensure the game finished in a tie.
Best Raider – Rakesh Narwal (6 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Girish Ernak (3 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – V Ajith Kumar (8 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Rinku (5 Tackle Points)