A second half onslaught from Pardeep Narwal and U.P. Yoddha didn’t prove to be enough, as Gujarat Giants hung on to win 38-31. With this win, the Giants climbed to sixth on the points table, but have played a game more than Puneri Paltan, who trail them by two on the points table.
The Giants got off to a sensational start and raced to a 5-2 lead, courtesy of two tackle points from Hadi Oshtorak and a raid point each from Ajay, Rakesh and Mahendra Rajput. U.P. managed to stop the leakage with a Super Tackle on Rakesh, but a tackle point from the Giants’ defence, followed by a two-point raid from Pardeep Kumar helped Gujarat inflict an All Out and take a seven-point lead.
The Giants continued to pile the points on the scoreboard and embarked on a 6-1 run that left U.P. with just three men on the mat. Girish Ernak’s brilliantly timed tackle on Pardeep Narwal and a touch point in the subsequent raid saw U.P. reduced to a solitary man on the mat. The Giants defence allowed Surender Gill a bonus before pinning him down to inflict another All Out on U.P. and take a 21-7 lead.
U.P. finished the half strong and outscored the Giants by three, to go into halftime trailing by 12.
U.P. carried their momentum into the second half and embarked on a 4-1 run that left the Giants with a solitary man on the mat. Ajay Kumar went in to raid against a twitchy U.P. defence and managed to take advantage of their eagerness by slipping past three onrushing defenders and helped himself to a Super Raid.
With his team missing out on the opportunity to inflict an All Out, raider Pardeep Narwal took the onus of doing it by himself.
The Record-Breaker went in to raid against a defence of four and managed to coax one defender into trying to pin him down. He managed to evade the tackle and tagged the other three defenders before getting his hand across the midline to score a six-point Super Raid and inflict an All Out on Gujarat.
Post the All Out, U.P. couldn’t make a dent into the Giants’ lead, as they managed them point-for-point to maintain their six-point advantage. But Pardeep yet again came through for his side with two successful raid that cut U.P.’s deficit to three.
U.P. closed in on All Out, but failed to convert their chance on defence again, as Ajay Kumar picked up a bonus and forced Nitesh Kumar out of bounds to add two points to the Giants’ total. U.P. turned to Pardeep to deliver another big raid, but it wasn’t to be, as the raider was Super Tackled by substitute Soleiman Pahlevani, which ensured the Giants emerge victorious.
Best Raider – Ajay Kumar (6 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Girish Ernak (6 Raid Points)
Best Raider – Pardeep Narwal (12 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Ashu Singh (5 Tackle Points)