PKL: Comeback win for Haryana Steelers

The team effects upset victory over Gujarat Fortunegiants; Bengal ties with UP.

Prashanth Kumar Rai of Haryana Steelers conducts a raid against Gujarat Fortunegiants.   -  Special Arrangement

Prashanth Kumar Rai's efficient raids and Wazir Singh's superb all-round showing enabled Haryana Steelers to rally and upset Zone A table topper Gujarat Fortunegiants 42-36 in the Pro Kabaddi League at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here on Saturday. In a closely-fought Zone B contest, leader Bengal held UP Yoddha 26-26 for its third tie in front of its co-owner and film star Akshay Kumar.

Gujarat maintained a slender lead thanks to Sachin's immaculate raids. He was well supported by captain Sukesh Hegde and Rohit Gulia. The trio conducted 14 successful raids and helped Gujarat take a comfortable 20-13 lead in the first half.

Haryana rode on Rai's fine forays and Wazir's all-round game to give Gujarat a close chase. In the 17th minute, Wazir, left alone, raided successfully to close the gap from 15-10 to 15-13. However, Gujarat applied pressure to make Haryana all out at the stroke of half time.

Gujarat continued its dominance and built a 10-point gap (26-16) after the break.

Comeback

However, Haryana utilised Rai's excellent attacks and its defenders' collective tackles, led by Mohit Chillar on right and Wazir on left, to effect two all outs on Gujarat and establish a 35-29 lead with five minutes to go. It thwarted Gujarat's last-ditch effort and broke its seven-match unbeaten run.

Haryana improved its tally to 28 points following its fourth victory.

Captain Surjeet Singh led Bengal from the front with some amazing tackles as the host overtook UP, which led 14-11 at half-time, in the 37th minute. UP banked on Nitin Tomar's raids to close the gap.

The results
  • Haryana Steelers 42 (Prashanth Rai 16, Wazir Singh 9, Mohit Chillar 5) beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 36 (Sachin 13, Sukesh Hegde 4);
  • Bengal Warriors 26 (Maninder Singh 8, Jang Kun Lee 5, Surjeet Singh 5) tied with UP Yoddha 26 (Nitin Tomar 10, Surender Singh 4).