Panchkula, Sept. 29: Haryana Steelers beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-37 in a closely fought VIVO Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) encounter to secure a place in the Season 7 playoffs on Monday.
Vikas Kandola was once again the star for the home side, picking up a Super 10, as the Steelers produced a successful tackle in the final play of the match to edge the thriller in front of a packed audience at the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula.
Gujarat, on the back of a massive 29-point victory against Tamil Thalaivas, started the match strongly.
Rohit Gulia and Sonu impressed with their raids while at the other end a tight Gujarat
defence ensured Haryana’s Vikas Kandola was not given space to wreak havoc. Rohit Gulia’s three-point Super Raid in the early minutes set the pace for Gujarat who edged Haryana in all departments to clinch an All-Out in the 9th minute of the match.
Haryana’s over-reliance on Vikas Kandola for the raid points was once again visible as the home side struggled to get a grip of the match. In fact, Haryana only wins 30% of their matches when Vikas Kandola fails to clinch a Super 10 and Gujarat were obviously well aware of this fact, pouncing on the raider in packs.
Despite a brief period of dominance after the All-Out, the Haryana team struggled again in the dying minutes to go down to just three men on the mat at half time (scores 19-14 with Gujarat on top).
The home side started the second half on the front foot though and reduced the Gujarat team to just three men in the early minutes. But once again, Haryana could not push home the numerical advantage and squandered the opportunity to inflict an All-Out to allow Gujarat back in the game.
Amit’s Super Tackle in the sixth minute of the match proved to be crucial for Gujarat who then went to open up a lead once again. But Kabaddi is a game of fine margins and the momentum once again shifted to the home side after Vikas Kandola picked up a 3-point Super raid to reduce Gujarat’s lead to one point. But Rohit Gulia produced a Super Tackle on Vikas Kandola as Haryana waster another opportunity to clinch an All-Out with under 7 minutes left in the match.
But as they say, “cometh the hour, cometh the man” and as usual, Vikas Kandola picked his game up to clinch successive multi-point raids to finally give Haryana an All-Out and a one-point lead with under 4 minutes left in the match.
A nail-biting finish to match saw Gujarat level the points with a tackle on Vikas Kandola with one second left on the clock but that one second proved too costly for the Fortunegiants as the Haryana defenders ushered Rohit Gulia out of the mat to clinch a point and the victory.
Source: Press Release