Pawan Kumar played a huge part in Bengaluru Bulls’ comfortable 42-34 win over an inconsistent Haryana Steelers in the inter-zone challenge tie here on Wednesday.
He raided the rival territory 20 times, glided across the mat to bag 19 touch-points and one bonus for a match-defining 20 points. The victory lifted Bulls to the top of Zone B after just four games.
Pawan’s power in negotiating tackles and having the reflexes to find a way to reach the touchline boosted Bulls. The lanky raider stunned the rival by tagging three players in one raid and then bettered the effort with four opposition players failing to keep him in check.
Rohit Kumar lent good support. Vikas Kandola fought valiantly to keep Steelers in the frame (14 raid points).
Steelers, taking the field at a new venue for the first time after ending the home leg on a winning note against Dabang Delhi, needed to extend the winning feeling against the Bulls.
Monu Goyat, who carried a huge responsibility as the league’s costliest buy at ₹1.51 crore, ended up with 11 raid points, second behind Vikas.
Vikas (seven raid points) and Goyat (three) helped Steelers stay ahead 15-13 at half-time. The Bulls defence faced the heat right through and captain Rohit’s individual moment of brilliance lifted the spirits.
Shuffling swiftly across on a raid, he leapt clear of defenders, controlled his fall and lashed out sideways with a leg to connect with a rival.
Steelers suffered a lapse in concentration on the mat after the break and suffered two all-outs to lose its grip on the match. A time-out helped calm nerves, but a deficit of eight points (24-32) proved too much for Goyat’s men in the end.
Bengaluru Bulls 42 (Pawan Kumar 20) bt Haryana Steelers 34 (Vikas Kandola 14).
UP Yoddha 29 (Prashanth Rai 8) bt Puneri Paltan 23 (Monu 7). Pts UPY (5), PP (0)