A 23-point second half from the Haryana Steelers saw them beat the Puneri Paltan 37-30. Steelers’ skipper Vikash Kandola led by example with eight raid points, while Mohit had a night to remember, scoring a career-high seven tackle points.
The first half was a cagey, low-scoring affair. The teams split the first 10 points evenly, as they both matched each other blow-for-blow to keep the game all square. Aslam Inamdar and Vishal Bhardwaj combined to reduce the Steelers to just three players on the mat and put their side in the ascendancy, but Haryana’s defence managed to curb the Paltan’s surge with a sensational Super Tackle.
Vikash Kandola and the defence helped the Steelers embark on a 3-0 run that saw them take a two-point lead, but Nitin Tomar’s brilliant two-point raid brought parity to the scoreline. A tackle point from Jaideep and a touch point from Meetu left the Paltan with three players on the mat. Meetu then went in to raid, hoping to get his side closer to inflicting an All Out, but the young raider was promptly Super Tackled which gave the Paltan the lead.
Ravi Kumar’s assured tackle on Tomar was the final point scored in the half, as the two teams went into the break tied at 14-14.
The Steelers’ defence opened the second half by pinning down substitute Victor Obiero to leave the Paltan with just two men on the mat. Kandola added a touch point to his tally to reduce Pune to a solitary man on the mat. In the subsequent raid, Haryana’s defence made no mistake tackling Pankaj Mohite to inflict the game’s first All Out and give their side a 19-14 lead.
The five-point lead soon ballooned to eight, as Rohit Gulia, Kandola and Haryana’s defence helped their side embark on a 6-3 run. Three more touch points from Meetu and Kandola left the Paltan with just a solitary man on the mat, and Haryana’s defence made no mistake in pinning the lone man down to inflict another All Out on the Paltan and push the Steelers’ lead to 10.
Pune responded with a 4-1 run to cut the deficit to seven. But a two-point raid from Ashish Narwal and a couple of tackle points from Mohit helped Haryana retain their 10-point advantage.
With victory out of sight, the Paltan pushed to rescue a point from the contest. They managed to score four unanswered points, courtesy of Karamvir’s tackle on Kandola, a raid point from Inamdar and Vishwas a self-out from Ravi Kumar to cut the deficit to six. In the game’s final raid, Vinay ended the Paltan’s surge with a touch point on Abinesh Nadarajan. But it didn’t affect the result much, as Pune took a point from the contest while Haryana walked away with five.
Best Raider – Vikash Kandola (8 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Mohit (7 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Vishwas S (7 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sanket Sawant (3 Tackle Points)