Tamil Thalaivas have been on the wrong end of a number of close games this season as their young players were unable to absorb the pressure late in the match. However, that wasn’t the story on Sunday against Bengal Warriors at Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi. A strong defensive show by C. Arun and a late burst of energy by Ajay Thakur ensured they beat the Warriors in spite of losing a key raider in M. Thivakaran to injury.

Bengal’s Jang Kun Lee and Chennai’s Thivakaran opened the scoring for their respective teams and appeared the most dangerous raiders. After being brought down to three men by Thivakaran, Bengal pulled off a crucial super tackle and levelled at 7-7 in the 11th minute. However, once their captain Surjeet Singh was sent to the sidelines, there was little they could do to avoid the All-Out and ended up conceding a 13-9 lead. Deepak Narwal took the responsibility of getting his side back into the game from there and returned with a brilliant super-raid to keep the contest tight at 14-12. But the Thalaivas had another ace up their sleeve and super-tackled Narwal in just the next raid. The teams went into half time with the Thalaivas leading 18-15 in spite of Maninder Singh’s late burst.

Thivakaran, who was looking dangerous, had to be replaced by Dong Geon Lee owing to a knee injury but the Thalaivas defence made sure the Warriors were kept under pressure in the second half even in his absence. The duo of Arun and D. Pradap first super-tackled Lee and then Maninder to keep their team ahead with a 22-19 scoreline. Maninder finally managed to get through the rock solid Thaliavas defence in the 13th minute to inflict an All-Out on the Chennai team and get a 27-24 lead for the Warriors. He reached his Super 10 and returned with 13 points from the game. But the night belonged to the Thalaivas as a late 2-point raid by Thakur won them the game by a solitary point.

Check out our snapshots from this match here.