Bengal Warriors dominated the first half and kept the reign on the game in the second as they outclassed Haryana Steelers 48-36 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Balewadi in Pune on Thursday. Captain Maninder Singh led from the front with a career-best 18 raid points and was ably supported by a six-point High 5 by Baldev Singh.
While Vinay starred for Haryana Steelers with 14 raid points and Vikash Kandola with nine, it was their defence that held them back as they trailed the opposition by six tackle points, which eventually proved to be the game changer.
In the first half, Maninder ran riot as he picked up a bulk of the raid points and he was ably supported by his team’s defence. Their efforts soon inflicted the first All Out of the night to bring the scores to 10-3.
Haryana Steelers were put on the back foot as a result as at the reset the pressure built up allowing Bengal Warriors to pick up points at will. Maninder continued to inflict damage, particularly when he picked up two successive multi-point raids to build the lead to over ten points with the scoreline ballooning to 19-6. On the other side of the mat, Bengal Warriors’ defence continued to limit the Haryana Steelers’ offence and soon inflicted a second All Out with the scores at a daunting 22-7.
When the teams reassembled, Bengal Warriors continued their assault while Haryana Steelers finally managed their first tackle points on the board, indicating where they had been severely lacking so far. Haryana Steelers then managed three straight points, bringing the scoreline to 25-11 and the deficit to 14.
But then a Mohammad Nabibakhsh two-pointer kept the opposition in check as Bengal Warriors finished the half with a healthy 30-14 advantage. Bengal Warriors were afflicted as Kandola was tackled successfully five times in that period while their defence failed in 15 tackle attempts, and Maninder’s nine raid points added to the damage.
The fight back
When the second half began, Maninder Singh completed his Super 10 and Bengal Warriors soon inflicted the third All Out, the score inflating to 34-15.
Trailing by 19 points, Haryana Steelers then upped their game as Kandola started delivering along with the defence. Vinay too contributed with a Super Raid and Kandola’s touch points on the last two defenders handed Bengal Warriors’ first All Out of the night as the score read 36-24.
Bengal Warriors hit back at the reset with Maninder continuing to add to his tally, only to be matched by Kandola. When the Bengal Warriors skipper managed a two-pointer, for Naveen brought his own two-point raid to the table. But the gap had increased to 12 in Bengal Warriors’ favour.
Baldev Singh then managed to tackle Kandola to complete his High 5 and the two teams continued to trade points with Vinay managing successive raid points. The gap had inched down to 10 but with less than three minutes left on the clock a K. Pranpanjan two-point raid got the game to 45-33 and comprehensively out of Haryana Steelers’ reach.
While Naveen managed to add a few more points in his tally, it was a little too late as Bengal Warriors sealed the game comfortably.
Best Raider – Maninder Singh (18 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Baldev Singh (6 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Vinay (14 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Vikas Kale (3 Tackle Points)