Captain Sunil Kumar and raider Lalit Chaudhary combined to score nine tackle points in a victory for Gujarat Fortunegiants.
A combined 17 raid points from Rohit Gulia and Ajay Kumar and a High 5 from captain Sunil Kumar helped Gujarat Fortunegiants beat Patna Pirates by a scoreline of 37-29 at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday. This victory was Gujarat Fortunegiants’ sixth on the trot and they head into the Playoffs as the Zone A toppers.
Patna Pirates were off to strong start, courtesy of four raid points from Pardeep Narwal and a tackle point each from Vikas Jaglan and Manjeet to take a 6-2 lead in the contest. But Gujarat Fortunegiants responded with three successful raids and Sunil Kumar’s tackle on Manjeet to even the scores 6-6. But just as they managed to bring parity to the scoreline, Narwal responded with a two-point raid and Jaglan scored his second tackle point of the night to put Patna Pirates back up by three.
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Gulia, the star of the first half for Gujarat Fortunegiants, added two more raid points to his tally and Parvesh Bhainswal added a tackle point to level the scores again. Two more raid points from Narwal and a self-out from raider Ajay Kumar helped Patna Pirates reduce Gujarat Fortunegiants down to just three men on the mat, but with the Super Tackle on, Amit pounced on Narwal’s ankles and was ably supported by captain Sunil, helping the team earn two points. Chaudhary got the final point of the half with a touch on Manjeet as the teams headed into the half-time break with Gujarat Fortunegiants leading 13-12.
The opening exchanges of the second half saw both teams trade points to keep the scoreline at 15-15, but two raid points from Ajay Kumar and tackle point from the defence helped Gujarat Fortunegiants build a three-point lead. Captain Sunil Kumar’s tackle on Pardeep and another raid point from Gulia reduced Patna Pirates down to just one man as they got close to inflicting the first All-Out of the match. But during his raid, Jaglan had stepped out before being ushered out of bounds by three defenders, rendering all four men self-out and reducing Gujarat Fortunegiants’ lead down to two points.
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Patna Pirates’ respite was momentary, as Ajay Kumar scored a two-point raid and soon after, Bhainswal’s tackled raider Tushar Patil to inflict the All-Out on Patna Pirates. But at the reset, Patna Pirates hit overdrive and outscored Gujarat Fortunegiants 5-2 in the next three minutes, with Narwal scoring three raid points while Jaglan and Vijay Kumar scoring a tackle point each, to reduce Gujarat Fortunegiants down to just two men. With the Super Tackle on, coach Manpreet Singh introduced Hadi Oshtorok as a substitute and the decision paid off immediately, as he assisted Sunil Kumar’s tackle on Narwal to add two more points to the team’s score. In the 39th minute, a two-point raid from Ajay Kumar and another Super Tackle, this time by Chaudhary, on Narwal all but ended hope of a Patna Pirates victory.
Chaudhary added a point to his tally with a tackle on Patil to finish the night just a point shy of the High 5 as the clock expired to give Gujarat Fortunegiants a victory, making them the only team to cross the 90-point mark in the standings.
Best Raider – Rohit Gulia (9 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sunil Kumar (5 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Pardeep Narwal (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Vikas Jaglan (3 Tackle Points)