Gujarat Fortunegiants played boldly at the NSCI SVP Stadium here on Tuesday to defeat Bengal Warriors 42-17 and find a place in the final of the Pro Kabaddi Season 5.
It was a do-or-die game for both teams - the zone toppers - and their players showed a sense of urgency from the start. Warriors, which boasts of a brilliant raiding unit - the ever-reliable Maninder Singh, Jang Kun Lee and Deepak Narwal - for once was made to sweat, such was the defensive skill of Fortunegiants.
In the second match of the day, the Eliminator, Pardeep Narwal did the star turn as defending champion Patna Pirates came from the brink of defeat to oust a fighting Puneri Paltan 42-32.
Fortunegiants had Sunil Kumar, Parvesh Bhainswal, Abozar Mighani and captain Fazel Atrachali, who form a strong cover and corner combination respectively. They set up tricky traps for Warriors that not only earned them precious points but also a crucial three-point edge (13-10) at the halfway mark.
Warriors is known for its stunning comeback but this time around, it found Fortunegiants too hot to handle. The latter gained about 10 points, including an 'all out', in the space of four minutes and further improved the tally with strong raid and tackle points for an easy win.
Despite the defeat, Warriors still has a chance to make its maiden final if it wins the second qualifier to be played in Chennai on October 26.
Pune Paltans has no such respite though, as it was pushed out of the tourney by Pirates. All eyes were firmly fixed on Pardeep (Patna) and Deepak Hooda (Pune), the respective captains and also the most successful raiders in the tournament, this season. The former was in full flow and so was the latter. In fact, both players upped the energy levels for the rest of the bunch in their teams.
But with a better tackling technique that fetched vital points, Pune went into the lemon break with a seven-point cushion (20-13). The team held on to the lead for most part of the second session. It was at this juncture that Pardeep came up with a powerful raid that got the
team five big points.
Patna further upped the ante and bundled out the opposition for the crucial lead. It was all over for the Pune outfit from there.
Gujarat Fortunegiants 42 bt Bengal Warriors 17
Patna Pirates 42 bt Puneri Paltan 32.