AJAY THAKUR led Tamil Thalaivas to a magical comeback against the mighty Gujarat Fortunegiants to snatch a 35-34 win in the dying seconds at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in Delhi on Tuesday. Thakur ended with a match-high 14 points aided wonderfully by K. Prapanjan (9 points), which completely overshadowed Sachin’s Super 10 performance for Gujarat.
Amit Hooda and Abozar Mighani’s tackles opened the scoreline for their respective teams before the raiders entered the party. A super raid by Prapanjan in the 6th minute set the pace of the match before Gujarat came back strongly through Sachin. His four consecutive successful raids ensured the score read 8-6 in his team’s favour at the end of the first quarter.
With three men remaining on the mat for the Thalaivas, Gujarat were quick to hand them their first All-Out of the match in the 12th minute to take a 7-point lead. Thakur and Prapanjan tried to reduce the gap but Sachin was unstoppable as he kept on picking up points. His back-to-back successful raids brought the curtain down on the first half, with Gujarat leading 20-13.
The second half commenced with Sachin picking up his fifth Super 10 of the season by taking out Hooda. With a super tackle opportunity being squandered due to a mistake from the Thalaivas defence, Gujarat handed them their second All-Out of the match in the 26th minute to take a 27-15 lead. Prapanjan again tried to forge a comeback, but Gujarat’s attack and the defence held their ground to enter the last quarter with a 10-point lead.
Gujarat tried to slow the pace of the game afterwards but Thakur, whose last-moment two-point raid had stunned Bengal Warriors a couple days ago, had other ideas. A series of successful tackles and raids from the Thalaivas led to Gujarat’s first All-Out of the match in the 39th minute, with 3 points now separating the teams. And then out of nowhere, Thakur again pulled off a spellbinding two-point raid in what was the last piece of action of the match to upset the Fortunegiants 35-34.
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