It was a dream start to kabaddi legend Rakesh Kumar’s coaching career as a stellar performance from raider Naveen and some outstanding work in defence by Vikas Kale and Parveen helped Haryana Steelers beat Puneri Paltan by a scoreline of 34-24 at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Monday. The match also saw Haryana Steelers captain Dharmaraj Cheralathan make his 100th VIVO Pro Kabaddi appearance.

Naveen was the star of the show for Haryana Steelers with 14 points to his name

Puneri Paltan started off well, taking a 3-1 lead courtesy of a successful tackle from Amit Kumar and a two-point raid from Manjeet, but raider Naveen responded with three points in two raid attempts to snuff out their early momentum. A strong tackle from Left Cover Parveen on Pawan Kadian reduced Puneri Paltan down to three men, but their defence stayed resilient and executed a brilliant Super Tackle to take a slender lead in the contest. However, Haryana Steelers did eventually capitalise on their momentum and scored four straight points to inflict the game’s first All-Out on Puneri Paltan.

Puneri Paltan responded well to the All-Out and scored two straight points, but a tackle point from Naveen and a Super Raid from Selvamani K reduced them to three men yet again. Naveen continued his outstanding night and scored a tackle point followed by a raid point, before Vikas Kale tackled the last man out of bounds to inflict a second All-Out on Puneri Paltan. The final few moments of the first half saw both teams score a couple of points each before heading into the break with Haryana Steelers leading 22-10.

Cover defenders Vikas Kale and Parveen combined to score eight tackle points

Naveen continued his stellar form and scored a raid point in each of his first two raids of the second half, but Kadian and Manjeet, too, scored a raid point each to limit the deficit to 12. The duo then added two unanswered points to their team’s total, but Naveen, yet again, responded with a successful raid to maintain his side’s healthy lead in the contest.

Two quick points from Kadian and an excellent tackle from Jadhav Shahaji reduced Puneri Paltan’s deficit down to nine and gave them a chance to mount a comeback. With just under three minutes to go, Kadian added four more points in three attempts to reduce the Haryana Steelers down to just two men on the mat. But a Super Tackle from Parveen on Manjeet followed by a 12th raid point of the night for Naveen in the final minute of the match ended Puneri Paltan’s hopes and got Haryana Steelers an important win in their first match of Season 7.    

Best Performers:

Haryana Steelers –

Best Raider – Naveen (12 Raid Points)

Best Defender – Parveen (4 Tackle Points)

Puneri Paltan

Best Raider – Pawan Kadian (10 Raid Points)

Best Defender – Shubham Shinde (3 Tackle Points)