HARYANA STEELERS registered a narrow victory against an inspired Dabang Delhi K.C. as they won Wednesday’s Zone A match 27-25 at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Lucknow. Deepak Kumar Dahiya (7 points) dictated the Haryana show, while Delhi’s Abolfazl Maghsodlou’s 8 points went in vain.
The match was touted to be a battle between two solid defensive units. Delhi’s ace defender Nilesh Shinde set the mood from the very first raid of the match when he fearlessly tackled Haryana’s Surjeet Singh. A couple of do-or-die raids for each team ensued in the third minute, where both the raiders were able to pick up touch points. But slowly, Haryana managed to tilt the match in their favour.
In the 6th minute, Delhi’s defenders Shinde and Viraj Vishnu Landge got injured and needed medical attention. Taking advantage, Haryana romped forward to hand Delhi their first All-Out of the match in the 10th minute, with the scoreline reading 11-3.
Maghsodlou led Delhi’s attack as Meraj Sheykh failed to pick up a single point in the first half. A series of do-or-die raids were played out, with Delhi shifting their gear to play only on their defensive strength. Haryana’s defence, on the other hand, was as radiant as ever and they entered the breather leading 17-9.
The second half started with another set of do-or-die raids but Delhi were in no mood to surrender. Led by captain Sheykh’s acrobatic raids, they ensured Haryana did not pick up a single point in the first six minutes of the half. The inspired show led to Haryana’s first All-Out of the match in the 27th minute, with just two points dividing the teams.
By the 28th minute, the score was level at 19 each, with Delhi scoring 10 points so far in the half while Haryana, a mere two. The number of do-or-die raids that took place in the match highlights that both the teams wanted to play on their defensive strength. With five minutes remaining in the match, Shinde pulled off a super tackle to attain his High 5 and keep Delhi in it.
In the dying minutes of the game with the pressure at its all-time high, Haryana’s Surjeet managed to score an all-important two-point raid. Everything rested on Sheykh’s last raid of the match, in which he unfortunately faltered and the curtains came down with Haryana’s slender win.
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