Haryana Steelers and Tamil Thalaivas played out a closely fought 32-32 tie at the Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. Vikash Khandola scored 14 of his team’s 18 raid points to lead his team from the front. Khandola and Tamil Thalaivas’ Ajay Thakur both reached 100 points in the season in this game.
Tamil Thalaivas managed to keep Monu Goyat quiet early and hence raced to an 8-3 lead. Goyat’s first 4 raids did not yield any points and hence the onus of scoring fell on Vikash Khandola and Naveen. But the Tamil Thalaivas raiders had no difficulty scoring early, giving their team an 8-point cushion in the 9th minute.
Check out the photos from the match here.
However, once Khandola and Naveen found their stride they kept picking off the Tamil Thalaivas players one at a time and reduced them to 3 men in the 14th minute. Their defence made no mistake from there to send Jasvir Singh to the bench, forcing Sukesh Hegde to give up the All-Out in order to get his entire team back on the mat. This gave Haryana Steelers a 14-13 lead late in the half. They then managed to extend their lead to 4 points going into the break.
The second half saw a close contest before Hegde managed back-to-back successful raids to help his team cut the score difference down to just one. The raiders from both teams then kicked into overdrive, exchanging points at will. But Tamil Thalaivas managed more touch points through Thakur and Hegde which meant that they not only levelled the scores at 28-28 in the 17th minute but also managed to bring Haryana Steelers down to one man on the mat. They then managed to tackle him immediately in the next raid to inflict an All-Out of their own and take a 31-29 lead and get momentum on their side with just more than two minutes left to play.
Khandola, who reached his Super 10 in the 16th minute, took up the responsibility of saving his team from a defeat in the penultimate raid of the match and returned successfully with a touch on Chhillar to tie the game at 32-32. An empty raid from Jasvir Singh in the end meant that the game remained tied at the full-time whistle with both teams sharing the spoils.
Visit the matchcentre to relive the contest here
Top Performers –
Best Raider: Vikash Khandola (14 raid points)
Best Defender: Kuldeep Singh (3 tackle points)
Best Raider: Sukesh Hegde (7 raid points)
Best Defender: Manjeet Chhillar (4 tackle points)