Both the teams played some enthralling Kabaddi on the mat.
Haryana Steelers beat defending champions Bengal Warriors 41-37 in a highly entertaining Match 38 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at the Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, Bengaluru. Bengal took the lead in the initial stages with an ALL OUT, but young sensation Meetu inspired a comeback for the Steelers with a Super 10. Maninder Singh scored 14 points for the Warriors, but the lack of a quality support raider proved costly against an in-form Haryana defence.
Whoever thought that match was going to be about top raiders were in for a rude surprise. The initial minutes saw both teams trading blows for blows. The defensive duo of Jaideep and Surender Nada was in red-hot form for Haryana while Sachin Vittala and Abozar Mighani dominated the corners for Bengal in this PKL match. Maninder Singh was tackled successfully twice in his first two attempts and his teammate Mohammad Nabibakhsh had no success either.
But the Warriors showed why they are the defending champions by inducing mistakes in the Haryana defence after the initial blitzkrieg. Maninder was not someone who would take the ego-battering tackles lightly, and he inspired a strong performance to clinch the game’s first ALL OUT with 7 minutes for the interval.
The six-point lead didn’t last long though with Vikash Kandola and Meetu ensuring the Haryana Steelers ended the first half positively. The scores were 18-15 to Bengal at the interval but with one player on the mat, the Warriors were staring at an ALL OUT.
Haryana secured that ALL OUT in the very first move of the half to level the scores. Young Meetu dished out multiple running kicks to quickly reduce the Warriors on the mat as Haryana dominated the early minutes. Mohammad Nabibakhsh ensured Warriors delayed another ALL OUT with two solid tackles, but the Steelers eventually clinched it with 7 minutes remaining.
Bengal desperately missed a quality secondary raider while Haryana’s Vikash Kandola offered the required support for Meetu. Maninder Singh secured his Super 10 with five minutes to be played as Bengal kept chasing the Steelers, but the Warriors struggled to stop Vikash Kandola in the final minutes as Haryana clinched a crucial four-point win.
Jaipur Pink Panthers beat Puneri Paltan
RaiderArjun Deshwal was once again the star for Jaipur Pink Panthers as they beat Puneri Paltan 31-26 in Match 39 PKL Season 8. Panthers’ lead raider scored 11 points, another Super 10 in Season 8, while defenders Sandeep Dhull and Sahul Kumar scored 4 points each. The Season 1 champions jumped to the seventh position on the table after the victory.
Jaipur Pink Panthers started this PKL match brightly with Arjun Deshwal impressing in the raids. Captain Deepak Hooda started on the bench for the Panthers who had left corner Sandeep Dhull back. His presence gave the defence a lot more confidence as they prevented the likes of Pune’s Mohit Goyat and Pankaj Mohite in the early minutes. Jaipur got their first ALL OUT with 8 minutes remaining to open a healthy 8-point lead.
But Pune’s next-generation stars were in no mood to let Jaipur run away with the match. The trio of Pankaj Mohite, Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat got quick raid points to help Pune clinch an ALL OUT with 2 minutes remaining. The first half ended well-balanced at 18-17 with Jaipur in the lead.
Both teams opted for a cautious approach in the second half. Jaipur brought in Deepak Hooda to steady the ship, but it was Arjun Deshwal once again who did the heavy lifting. The young raider scored yet another Super 10 with 10 minutes left in the match to give the Panthers a 3-point lead. Substitute Nitin Tomar clinched crucial points for Pune as they kept pace with the Panthers in the closing minutes.
Coach Anup Kumar advised his players to keep calm in the Time Out, but Pune couldn’t prevent an ALL OUT with 2 minutes remaining. Sandeep Dhull and Sahul Kumar were rock solid in defence as the Panthers controlled the final minutes to win the match. Pune’s impressive youngsters, despite showing glimpses of their potential, couldn’t find the answers to a well-drilled Panthers unit.