Haryana Steelers blew away a 16-point lead in the last 10 minutes to only manage a 41-41 draw with Patna Pirates in the opening game of the seventh leg of the Pro Kabaddi League at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports here on Friday.
Trailing 16-32 at one point in the game, the defending champion saw captain Pardeep Narwal bounce back into form after a disappointing first half to top-score with 13 points, most of which came in the second half. He had perfect support from Monu Goyat who scored 11 points and took on the role of the main raider in the first half, one of the few matches where two raiders completed their Super-10 score. Between them, the duo scored the bulk of Patna's points as its defence faltered.
Wazir Singh earned 12 points for Haryana Steelers but he fought a lone hand as the rest, barring Surjeet Singh, failed to back him up despite a comfortable 22-12 lead at half time for the host. The result saw both team stay second in their respective groups – Haryana with 41 points in Zone A and Patna with 36 in Zone B – in identical 10 games each.
The first all-out of the game came in the 11th minute as Haryana pulled ahead, relying on Surender Nada and Mohit Chillar in the defence to keep Narwal quiet. A second all out immediately on resumption saw Haryana increase the lead further before Narwal came into the act, finally finding his scoring touch even as the Haryana defence wobbled, allowing Patna to escape with a tie.
The day's other match saw Zone A topper Gujarat Fortunegiants split points with UP Yoddhas in a close match that ended 30-all.
The result: Haryana Steelers 41 (Wazir Singh 11, Surjeet Singh 9, Mohit Chillar 5, Prashanth Kumar Rai 5, Surender Nada 4) drew with Patna Pirates 41 (Pardeep Narwal 13, Monu Goyat 11, Vijay 5); Gujarat Fortunegiants 30 (Sukesh Hegde 5, Chandran Ranjit 4, ) drew with UP Yoddhas 30 (Nitin Tomar 8, Rishank Devadiga 6, Nitesh Kumar 5, Jeeva Kumar 5).
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