A stellar Dash from Sunil in the buzzer raid helped Haryana Steelers beat Gujarat Fortunegiants by a scoreline of 38-37 at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula on Sunday and qualify for the playoffs. Vikash Kandola scored a Super 10 for Haryana Steelers, as they registered their first victory at home.
The match was evenly poised in the opening few minutes, with raiders on either side scoring points for their respective teams. Sonu Jaglan’s touch point on opposition skipper Dharmaraj Cheralathan then tilted the balance of the match in Gujarat Fortunegiants’ favour, as they scored four further unanswered points to inflict the game’s first All Out and take a 12-6 lead.
The gap remained at six midway through the half, before Sunil’s tackle on Sonu started a good spell for the home side. They scored two more points to cut the deficit to just two, but the visitors responded with a couple of points of their own to push the lead back up to four. Some smart work from Sonu reduced Haryana Steelers down to just three men on the mat, before Pankaj’s tackle on Vinay ensured that Gujarat Fortunegiants went into the half-time break with a 19-14 advantage.
The home side started the brighter of the two in the second half, as Prashanth Kumar Rai scored a point in four straight raids. Gujarat Fortunegiants’ defence then upped the ante to reduce Haryana Steelers down to just three. But a Super Tackle from Dharmaraj Cheralathan, followed by a Super Raid from Vikash Kandola just a couple of minutes later, helped the home side reduce the visitors to just three in return.
Gujarat Fortunegiants, though, remained defiant as Rohit Gulia scored a bonus before effecting a Super Tackle on Kandola to give his side breathing room. However, Haryana Steelers were eventually able to inflict an All Out after Kandola got a touch on both Gujarat Fortunegiants defenders before getting his hand across the midline.
Leading by one post the All Out, Haryana Steelers added two more points to their score through their defence, but Gujarat Fortunegiants responded quickly through their raiders to cut the deficit to one. Kandola went in to raid with the visitors deploying a baulk line defence and, just as he got his foot across the white tape, Gulia pounced on his ankle and the rest of the defence converged to tackle the raider and level the scores.
Gulia then went in for the buzzer raid and got a touch on a defender but Sunil dashed him out of bounds before he could cross the midline to ensure a thrilling win for Haryana Steelers.
Best Raider – Vikash Kandola (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sunil (4 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Sonu (8 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Rohit Gulia (4 Tackle Points)