Haryana Steelers begin their home leg with an entertaining 41-41 tie against Patna Pirates at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Sonepat on Friday. Wazir Singh was Haryana’s top-scorer with 12 points, while Pardeep Narwal scored a game-high 13 points for Patna.
It was a frantic start to the contest with both sides going hell for leather straight from the outset. The frenetic pace of the game meant that it took eight minutes for the first do-or-die raid of the match. By this stage, Haryana had moved into a 9-5 lead with Patna’s Dubki King Pardeep proving to be ineffective early on.
The Steelers defenders were on top of their game and along with in-form raiders Wazir and Surjeet Singh – who were doing most of the damage in attack – helped effect the first All-Out on Patna in the 13th minute to take a 12-8 lead.
The closing stages of the half saw Haryana continue functioning as a cohesive unit with Surender Nada and Mohit Chhillar playing their part in defence and Wazir and Surjeet in attack to a tee. Patna managed a super tackle in the penultimate minute of the half but Haryana still went into the break with a 22-12 lead.
The second All-Out on Patna came in the first minute of the second period as the hosts extended their lead to 26-12. The home side were unrelenting in defence as well as attack, offering Patna no easy points whatsoever.
Haryana’s defenders especially were living up to their billing as the best in the league with strong and assured tackles that accounted for the majority of the hosts’ points in the opening 10 minutes. In fact, Pardeep had to wait till the 31st minute for his first super raid, which offered Patna a glimmer of hope.
The Pirates then inflicted an All-Out on Haryana soon after to make it 32-26 with a little over eight minutes left on the clock. However, every time it looked like Patna were gathering momentum to forge a comeback, the Steelers kept coming up with crucial tackles to stem the Pirates’ flow and take the sting out of their game.
The game-changing raid of the match came in the 37th minute courtesy of a Monu Goyat super raid that set up a second All-Out on Haryana moments later and gave Patna a 38-37 lead. The lead kept changing hands in the nail-biting final few minutes before a successful tackle on Pardeep made it look like Haryana would indeed win the match. However, Goyat managed a bonus point in the penultimate raid of the match to ensure it ended all square.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.