Jaipur Pink Panthers overcame a spirited second-half fightback from Haryana Steelers to pick up a 39-30 victory at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula on Tuesday. The visitors came back from a nine-point deficit to take the lead at one point before Jaipur Pink Panthers captain Deepak Niwas Hooda helped his side inflict a late All-Out and seal the game.

A Super Raid by Selvamani K. in the opening minutes of the match gave Jaipur Pink Panthers some early hope but the Haryana Steelers defence scored vital tackle points on Ajinkya Pawar and Deepak Niwas Hooda to ensure that the scores were level at 7-7 after 9 minutes. Vikash Khandola kept the raid points coming for Haryana Steelers during this period and, a successful escape from him coupled with Mayur Shivtarkar’s Block on Selvamani opened up a two-point lead for the visitors.

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Pawar then contributed in the offence and put in a diving Ankle Hold on Naveen while defending to help his side draw abreast at 12-12 with a minute and a half to play. Selvamani and Khandola added another point each to their kitties from there as both teams ended the half on an even footing at 13-13.

The second half saw Jaipur Pink Panthers send Khandola to the bench in the first raid itself and then capitalise through Pawar and Hooda to reduce Haryana Steelers down to three men on the mat. After allowing Shivtarkar a bonus point, the Jaipur Pink Panthers defence pinned him down before a surrender raid given to Hooda gave the home team a much-needed All-Out and a 7-point lead in the game. Halfway through the second half, Jaipur Pink Panthers had managed to stretch their lead to nine points as Hooda went on the offence and the home team’s defence managed to pick up Khandola yet again.

But Haryana Steelers had an excellent period of play after that which saw them pick off all three Jaipur Pink Panthers raiders - Hooda, Pawar and Selvamani – while not allowing the home team even a single point, to reduce the deficit down to three points and bring the Jaipur Pink Panthers down to two men on the mat. Goyat made short work of those two players and capped off an 8-point run for the side which saw them inflict an All-Out and seize a one-point lead.

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Hooda soon erased the deficit and was well-supported by his team’s defence as they sent Khandola and Shivtarkar to the bench and did not allow another successful Haryana Steelers raid in the next three minutes. Hooda kept up his scoring spree during this time and gave his team a three-point lead while Haryana Steelers played on the Super Tackle with a three-man-defence. But Hooda managed two straight successful raids, which left just Naveen on the mat for Haryana Steelers, and he got tackled in the final minute of the match to give Jaipur Pink Panthers a decisive 6-point advantage.

An excellent two-point finish from Hooda in the last raid helped him take his raid point tally to 12 and seal a 39-30 win for his side.

Top Performers –

Jaipur Pink Panthers

Best Raider: Deepak Niwas Hooda (12 raid points)

Best Defender: Sunil Siddhgavali (5 tackle points)

Haryana Steelers

Best Raider: Vikash Khandola (7 raid points)

Best Defender: Kuldeep Singh (3 tackle points)