Puneri Paltan put in a brilliant second-half show that saw them score 27 points while conceding just 10 to beat Haryana Steelers 35-33 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Wednesday. Sandeep Narwal was the star of the side, especially in offence and he finished the game with 7 points to his name.
Both sides remained fairly even in terms of points scored in the opening minutes of the match at 5 apiece. But Haryana Steelers managed more touch points, which reduced Puneri Paltan to two men on the mat in the 10th minute. Vikash Khandola took out both those men in a single raid and gave his side an 11-5 lead
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A strong defensive effort from Haryana Steelers once the team reassembled put Puneri Paltan on the back foot. Monu Goyat then managed consecutive touch points split by a tackle on Monu, which brought Puneri Paltan down to three men on the mat once again. Haryana Steelers managed another All-Out from there, banking on Goyat’s successful touch on Ernak to break the back of the Puneri Paltan resistance and take a massive 20-7 lead.
Puneri Paltan took the first point once the entire team was back on the mat through a strong chain-tackle on Goyat. But Haryana Steelers managed the next three points which included two successful tackles on Parvesh and More G B to go into halftime with a 23-8 lead.
With just four men on the mat at the beginning of the second half, Puneri Paltan managed to open their account through a swift bonus point by Akshay Jadhav before Ernak’s double Ankle Hold sent Naveen to the bench to bring the score to 23-10. The next five raids saw just one point being scored through Haryana Steelers’ successful tackle on Monu as both teams sized their opponents up and waited for the appropriate opportunity to strike.
Forced into a Do-or-Die raid, Vikash Khandola got stopped in his tracks by Ravi Kumar, and Sandeep Narwal then managed to evade a Thigh hold to reduce Haryana Steelers to three men on the mat at 24-15. But Monu Goyat rescued his team by scoring a two-point raid to bring about a revival for his team.
However, Puneri Paltan scored the next six points which included an All-Out inflicted on Haryana Steelers in the 11th minute to bring the score difference down to just 5. Sandeep Narwal was the go-to-man for his team in this phase as he contributed both, as a raider and a supporting defender.
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The score difference remained the same for the next few minutes before Puneri Paltan managed to send Khandola to the bench and strike through Monu and Sandeep Narwal. Goyat still kept up Haryana Steelers’ resistance but, once Ernak got a hold on his ankles, it was only a matter of time before Puneri Paltan inflicted the second All-Out and took a 31-29 lead with a little more than two minutes left to play.
Khandola led the Haryana Steelers charge in the closing minutes but was sent to the bench after Jadhav’s Ankle Hold with one minute still to play. More G B then returned with a successful touch to give the side a 34-31 lead.
The last three raids of the match saw Monu Goyat take away two successful raid points on the way to reaching his Super 10, but Puneri Paltan managed to run down the clock to perfection to win the game 35-33.
Top Performers –
Best Raider: Sandeep Narwal (6 raid points)
Best Defender: Girish Maruti Ernak (3 tackle points)
Best Raider: Monu Goyat (10 raid points)
Best Defender: Sunil (3 tackle points)