A 13-point outing from Naveen Kumar helped Dabang Delhi K.C. beat the Tamil Thalaivas 32-31. With this win, Delhi snapped their three-game winless run and went seven points clear of third-placed Haryana Steelers on the points table.
The game was a cagey affair in the opening few minutes, as both teams matched the other point-for-point to stay level on the scoreboard. Two touch points from Neeraj Narwal and Manjeet Chhillar's strong Block against Himanshu saw Delhi take control of proceedings.
Naveen and Neeraj added two more touch points to their team’s tally and reduced the Thalaivas to just two players on the mat. A self-out saw Thalaivas reduced to a solitary man in the mat and the defender surrendered a touch point to Naveen Kumar, which inflicted the game’s first All Out on the Thalaivas and saw Delhi take a 14-6 lead.
Three unanswered points from Manjeet cut the Thalaivas’ deficit to five, but Naveen and the defence ensured Delhi finished the half strong and to go into the break leading by seven.
Close to midway through the second half, Delhi continued to stay ahead by eight on the scoreboard. But a lucky break, which yielded three points for the Thalaivas and one for Delhi, cut the difference on the scoreboard to just three points.
Manjeet’s touch point left Delhi with a solitary man on the mat, but the raider managed to keep the All Out at bay with a touch point of his own and helping Delhi push their lead up to four.
But the resistance didn’t last long as another touch point for the Thalaivas reduced Delhi to a solitary man on the mat. The defence made no mistake in pinning the raider down to inflict and All Out and bring parity to the scoreline.
The two teams went back-and-forth over the next several minutes and stayed tied on the scoreboard. With the scores level at 30-30, Delhi needed a tackle point to pull ahead on the scoreboard. And Manjeet Chhillar delivered. The veteran all-rounder pinned down Thalaivas’ Manjeet to help Delhi take the lead.
With less than 20 seconds left in the game, Naveen went in against a Thalaivas defence guarding the baulk line, but the raider didn’t need to cross the white line as he managed to tag a defender to give Delhi a two-point lead.
Manjeet Chhillar affected an advanced tackle to ensure the Thalaivas raider could only escape with a solitary point from the game’s final raid, handing Delhi the victory.
Best Raider – Naveen Kumar (13 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Joginder Narwal (3 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Manjeet (10 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Surjeet (3 Tackle Points)