Patna Pirates’ Pardeep Narwal and Monu Goyat are exemplary raiders who, by their sheer speed and flailing arms and legs on the rival court, raise the tempo at any venue. They make a lethal pair and their stretched hand touches are a treat to watch.
Patna came into its fourth match unbeaten (twice against Telugu Titans and once against Bengaluru Bulls) , with its bearded captain Narwal tallying 42 raid points and Goyat 25 points.
But on an eventful day that saw some splendid work by the several playmakers in both the teams at the Arena by Transstadia, the two-time champion Pirates and UP Yoddha had to settle for a 27-all stalemate. The Pirates won the last point that enabled it to share points.
The architect of Patna Pirates’ remarkable comeback was the ever reliable Narwal. Cooling his heels on the bench for a large part of the second half, he was back in play with three and half minutes left and scored four telling points — earning two touch points on the last occasion — to deny victory for the Nitin Tomar-led Up Yoddha.
Credit is also due to Tomar who, in the buzzer-time raid, did not take the perilous path of going all out for an attack against seven Pirates forming a defensive chain. In the end, both teams showed warmth as they shook hands.
Narwal scored nine points, but a colleague who rose to the occasion and kept his team in the hunt right through the match was Goyat; he scored eight valuable points and was always on the look out for a touch on the rival corners.
Narwal was captured close to half-a-dozen times which spoke highly of the UP side’s intention to target the rival captain and render him out of action. Vishal Mane, Jaideep and Sachin Shingade made sure that their opponent did not run away with a big lead.
The UP side’s progress hinged on the tall and strapping Mahesh Goud. He has caught attention in the last few days and the UP franchise should be happy that the likes of Goud and Pankaj in defence should hold the team in good stead in the six home matches.
Tomar kept control of himself and was not out of action for too long like his counterpart, but the UP side was hurt by the inability of Devadiga to come up with successful raids. He tallied a mere point.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Fortunegiants (GFG) registered its third straight win at home — its fourth in the league — when it outwitted the inaugural year champion, Jaipur Pink Panthers, 27-20.
The two Iranian defenders Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani scored plenty of tackle points in the first half for GFG and the teams were tied at 10 during half-time. But the home team — helped by some quick and successful raids by Sachin in the second half — emerged as the clear winner. Sachin was declared the Vivo perfect raider and player of the match.
Results: UP Yoddha tied with Patna Pirates 27-27; Gujarat Fortunegiants bt Jaipur Pink Panthers 27-20