Gujarat Fortunegiants made it two wins from two against Patna Pirates this season after claiming their inter zone wildcard contest 33-29 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Sunday. Substitute Mahendra Rajput shone for Gujarat and top-scored with six points coming off the bench. He was well supported by Fazel Atrachali, who bagged a High 5 and Abozar Mighani, who had four tackle points to his name.
The match began with neither team finding much success in attack as both defences looked strong and confident while tackling. Gujarat started to pull away from Patna near the 10-minute mark when a smart bit of play by Rohit Gulia got rid of three Patna players at once. The all-rounder failed to get a touch but baited three Patna players into the lobby to open up an 8-6 lead.
The Fortunegiants then took control of the match soon after by enforcing an All-Out on Patna to take a 13-8 lead in the 12th minute. Gujarat went on to extend their lead by another point before the end of the first half to go into the break with an 18-12 advantage.
Patna started the second period well and picked up the first three points of the half with a successful tackle and a two-point raid by Monu Goyat. Gujarat responded with a super tackle on Pardeep Narwal before Vijay picked up two points for Patna after a successful raid. The Pirates thought they had inflicted an All-Out by tackling substitute Rajput but a review revealed it to be a super raid to make it 24-17 for the Zone A leaders.
The defending champions though eventually effected an All-Out in 27th minute after a two-point raid by Narwal that reduced the deficit to 24-22. The last 10 minutes witnessed the teams tightening things up in defence and being more cautious in attack as they looked to minimize giving away cheap points.
Patna threatened to make a comeback with some determined play but Gujarat kept their composure and resisted the Pirates’ late pressure through solid defending as well as effective raiding by Rajput and Sachin to seal the victory that strengthens their position at the summit of their zone.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.