A sensational chain tackle, led by Sandeep Kandola, in the game’s final raid helped the Telugu Titans secure a 39-39 against the Haryana Steelers. The Left Corner had a terrific outing and finished the game with six tackle points. Ankit Beniwal, who assisted the game-saving tackle, was the Titans’ top scorer with 10 points. Steelers’ skipper Vikash Kandola matched the Titans raider and led his team with 10 points.
The Steelers were off to a sensational start, racing to a 5-1 lead courtesy of three raid points from Rohit Gulia and a couple of tackle points from the defence. But the Titans clawed their way back into the game with a 3-1 run, courtesy of Kandola, Rohit Kumar and Ankit Beniwal.
The Titans’ attempt at a comeback was thwarted by Vikash Kandola, who delivered a Super Raid and left Telugu with just three players on the mat. With their team pegged on the back foot, Telugu’s defence came to the fore, and Super Tackled Kandola to cut the Steelers’ back to four points.
But a two-point raid from Vinay and another touch point from Kandola broke the Titans’ resistance as they were left with a solitary man on the mat. Surender Nada shouldered the responsibility of tackling the raider and inflicting an All Out on the Titans to help the Steelers take a 17-9 lead.
Post the reset, the Titans 6-2 run, with raider Adarsh T leading the charge. The raider scored three points during that run, and his fourth, a touch point on Shrikant Tewatia, left the Steelers with a solitary man on the mat. Jaideep went in for the raid but wasn’t even allowed to pick up a bonus, as the Titans defence swarmed him to inflict an All Out and go into the break trailing by one point.
The Steelers started the second half brighter and extended their lead to four points. But just when Haryana began pulling away on the scoreboard, Rohit Kumar pegged them back with a Super Raid to cut his team’s deficit to one. The Titans’ skipper then added a tackle point to his tally, and Adarsh followed it up with a touch point, leaving the Steelers with a solitary man on the mat.
Gulia picked up the bonus before being pinned down by the Titans’ defence, as Telugu inflicted an All Out to take a 30-28 lead. But the lead didn’t last long, as Vinay’s two-point raid brought parity to the scoreline.
With the game evenly poised, the Steelers looked towards Kandola for inspiration and the skipper did not disappoint. He picked up three touch points in two raids to help Haryana take a three-point lead and leave the Titans with just one player on the mat. The Steelers’ defence made no mistake in tackling the raider and inflicting an All Out on the Titans to take a 38-33 lead.
Haryana adopted a conservative approach to protecting their lead and paid the price. Rohit Kumar and Beniwal picked up a bonus point in quick succession, and then the defence pinned down Kandola in a Do-or-die raid to cut the Steelers’ lead to three. Beniwal’s 10th raid point of the night cut Haryana’s lead to one, but the raider made a massive error in the subsequent raid and gifted a touch point to Vinay, which saw the Steelers take a two-point lead.
The Steelers surrendered a touch point with an advanced tackle and banked on Kandola to secure the win in the final raid. But the raider was left immobile by a stupendous chain tackle from Sandeep Kandola and Beniwal, which ended the game in a tie.
Best Raider – Vikash Kandola (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Jaideep (4 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Ankit Beniwal (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sandeep Kandola (6 Tackle Points)