HARYANA STEELERS completed a spectacular second-half comeback to beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 42-36 at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday. Prashanth Kumar Rai bagged a Super 10 and was the star of the show with a whopping 16 points for the Steelers.
It was neck-and-neck early on with both defences struggling to cope with the raiding prowess of Gujarat’s Sachin and Haryana’s Prashanth. A two-point raid by Sukesh Hegde helped the Fortunegiants open up an 8-5 lead in the ninth minute.
Haryana then responded with a two-point raid of their own through Surjeet Singh two minutes later to close the gap to 9-8. However, the Steelers were struggling to contain young Sachin, who was at his menacing best.
Just when it looked like Gujarat were about to inflict the first All-Out of the game, Wazir Singh came up trumps for Haryana - first with a super tackle and then with a super raid. Wazir’s heroics though merely delayed the inevitable for his side as they succumbed to the first All-Out of the game in the final minute of the half to give Gujarat a 20-13 lead at the break.
The Fortunegiants carried their first-half momentum into the second period with Sachin doing most the damage. The young raider brought up his Super 10 in the 26th minute as Gujarat looked like effecting the second All-Out of the match on Haryana.
Mohit Chhillar had other plans though and pulled off a spectacular two-point raid with Haryana’s back against the wall. The Steelers rallied and made it 26-20 heading into the final 10 minutes of the contest, courtesy of some resolute defending and brilliant raiding by Prashanth. Haryana then effected an All-Out on Gujarat to make it 28-25 moments later.
They then went on to level the game at 29-29 in the 34th minute after another two-point raid by Prashanth. Haryana finally got their noses in front a minute later with some astute defensive work and inflicted another All-Out on Gujarat soon after to stun the Zone A leaders and take a 35-29 lead with five minutes left in the game.
Gujarat tried to forge a late comeback but some smart tactical raids by Haryana’s Prashanth where he mostly looked at running down the clock – while also picking up crucial touch points – coupled with solid defending ensured that his team came out on top.
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