A Super 10 from Ajay Kumar and nine raid points from Pardeep Kumar saw the Gujarat Giants beat the Haryana Steelers 32-26. The Giants now sit seven points adrift of the playoff spots but have a game in hand over Bengal Warriors, who occupy the sixth spot on the points table.
The Giants were off to a strong start and built a three-point lead early in the game, as Ajay and Girish Ernak scored two points each. Ravinder Pahal announced his return with a sensational Thigh Hold on Vinay. Pardeep and Ernak added two more points to their team’s tally and reduced the Steelers to two players on the mat.
But one of them was the league’s second-highest tackle point scorer, Jaideep. The incredible Cover defender added two more points to his tally with a Super Tackle on Mahendra Rajput. Meetu and Rohit Gulia added three points in two raids to their team’s tally to help the Steelers cut the deficit to a solitary point.
Just when Haryana found their footing, Pardeep pegged them back with a brilliant two-point raid followed by a stellar tackle on Gulia to leave the Steelers with just two players on the mat. He then went in, tagged both defenders and sprinted past the midline to inflict the game’s first All Out and give the Giants a 17-10 lead.
Both teams added a couple of points to their total and went into the break, with Gujarat leading by seven.
The opening few minutes of the second half were evenly contested, with both teams matching the other point-for-point as the Giants maintained their seven-point advantage. Parvesh Bhainswal’s stellar tackle on Meetu and Pardeep’s touch point Surender Nada pushed the Giants’ lead up to nine. But Vikash Kandola responded with two unanswered points to bring the deficit back to seven.
With under five minutes left, the Steelers needed a surge to make a dent in the Giants’ lead. But in his effort to pick up touch points, Kandola ventured too deep into Gujarat’s territory and was tackled by the defence, which pushed the Steelers’ deficit up to eight.
With the Giants adopting a pragmatic approach, Meetu and the defence took advantage and scored three unanswered points to cut the gap to five The raider went in again, hunting for more raid points but was pinned down Sunil Kumar ending Haryana’s hopes of a comeback.
Best Raider - Ajay Kumar (11 Raid Points)
Best Defender - Parvesh Bhainswal (3 Tackle Points)
Best Raider - Meetu (8 Raid Points)
Best Defender - Jaideep (2 Tackle Points)