Dabang Delhi qualified for the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) playoffs for the first time in its history when it cruised to a thumping 60-40 victory over Puneri Paltan at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula on Sunday.
Naveen Kumar, who picked up his 17th consecutive 'Super-10', starred once again as Delhi produced a near-flawless performance to throw Paltan out of the playoff race.
Delhi started on the front foot, with its raider-in-chief Naveen Kumar looking unstoppable. The 19-year-old raider picked points at will, pulling out acrobatic moves in the process, as the Delhi side inflicting an 'All-Out' on Pune in the 7th minute of the match.
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Pune was badly missing the services of raider Pankaj Mohite, who missed out due to a fever. Its raiders struggled as Ravinder Pahal (completed 50 tackle points for the season) and Joginder Narwal, the corners for Delhi, also got into the game with successful tackles.
Naveen kept adding to his points tally as he clinched a personal record of becoming the fastest player to secure 400 raid points in the PKL history.
The Delhi side secured its second 'All-Out' with 7 minutes remaining to half time to open up a 14-point lead.
Manjeet's performance was the only bright spot for Pune on the night and his valiant efforts in the raids allowed the side to cling on to the hope of coming back into the match. The first half ended 30-16 with Delhi on top.
The second half turned out to be much of the same with Delhi dominating in all departments.
-Haryana seals playoff berth with thrilling victory-
Haryana Steelers edged past Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-37 in a closely fought match that was decided in the very last raid of the match.
Vikas Kandola was once again the star for the Steelers, picking up a 'Super-10', as they came up with a successful tackle in the final play of the match to edge past last year's runners-up.
The home side, however, started slow. Gujarat, led by the offensive prowess of Rohit Gulia and Sonu Jaglan, made the most of Haryana's poor defending to take a 19-15 lead at half time after inflicting an 'All-out'.
The second saw the rise of Vikas Kandola, who was kept muted in the first half. Dharmaraj Cheralathan, who returned to the mat after missing out the past few games, played an able hand in the defence with two super-tackles to help Kandola race to his 'Super-10' and help Haryana take the lead.
With under 10 seconds left in the game and teams tied at 37-37, Rohit Gulia went in to raid and just as he was about to cross the mid-line, he was ushered out Sunil as to seal the victory for his team.
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