Patna Pirates kept their title defence hopes alive by blowing away Haryana Steelers 69-30 in the second eliminator of the playoffs at the DOME@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Monday. Skipper Pardeep Narwal managed a game-high 34 raid points and bagged the record for most raid points in a match.
Patna began the contest with a bang courtesy of a four-point – bonus inclusive super raid – by Monu Goyat that sent three Haryana players to the bench. Each and every point was fiercely contested early on by the sides as both teams lost their review inside eight minutes desperate to get the upper hand.
The Pirates did have a slight edge in the 14th minute after a successful tackle on Wazir Singh in a do-or-die raid gave the reigning champions an 11-7 lead. Dubki King Narwal came into his own towards the closing stages of the half and successfully completed some quick raids to set up the first All-Out of the match on Haryana in the 19th minute to open up a 19-14 lead. With confidence seeping through their veins, the defending champions extended their advantage to 22-15 before the half-time whistle.
The second period began with Patna stamping their authority on the encounter as they inflicted another All-Out on Haryana within six minutes of the restart to make it 31-21 in their favour. The Steelers were reeling by this stage and the pressure of an eliminator seemed to get to them with them making uncharacteristic errors in defence.
Narwal moved into top gear after bringing up his Super 10 early in the second half. His movement caused all sorts of issues to Haryana’s formidable defence. Goyat was also on fire with the Pirates high on confidence by now. The last quarter of the match even witnessed the Patna defence get in on the act with some strong tackles that heralded in a third All-Out on Haryana for a 42-23 lead.
They strutted to victory with Goyat also picking up a Super 10 for his effort on the night. The highlight of the game came in the final quarter when an exquisite super raid by Narwal that accounted for six Haryana players – the most in league history – enforced another All-Out on the northerners. Narwal then brought up 300 raid points for himself this season as Haryana succumbed to their fifth All-Out before the Patna skipper also broke Bengaluru Bulls’ Rohit Kumar’s record for most raid points in a match.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.