Panchkula, Sep 29 (IANS) Haryana Steelers beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 38-37 in a closely fought Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 encounter to secure a place in the playoffs, here on Monday.
Vikas Kandola was once again the star for the home side, picking up a Super 10, as the Steelers produced a successful tackle in the final play of the match to clinch the thriller in front of a packed audience at the Tau Devi Lal stadium here.
Fortunegiants, coming on the back of a massive 29-point victory against Tamil Thalaivas, started the match strongly. Rohit Gulia and Sonu impressed with their raids while at the other end a tight defence ensured that Haryana’s Vikas Kandola was not given space to wreak havoc.
Rohit Gulia’s three-point Super Raid in the early minutes set the pace for Fortunegiants who edged Steelers in all departments of the game to clinch an All-Out in the 9th minute of the match.
Steelers’ over-reliance on Vikas Kandola for raid points was once again visible as the home side struggled to get a grip of the match. In fact, Steelers only win 30 per cent of their matches when Vikas Kandola fails to clinch a Super 10 and Fortunegiants were obviously well aware of this fact, pouncing on the raider in packs.
Despite a brief period of dominance after the All-Out, the Haryana team struggled again in the dying minutes to go down to just three men on the mat at half time with Fortunegiants leading 19-14.
The home side started the second half on the front foot though and reduced Fortunegiants to just three men in the early minutes. But once again, Steelers could not push home the numerical advantage and squandered the opportunity to inflict an All-Out to allow Fortunegiants back in the game.
Amit’s Super Tackle in the sixth minute of the second half proved to be crucial for Fortunegiants who then went on to open up a lead once again. But kabaddi is a game of fine margins and the momentum once again shifted to the home side after Vikas Kandola picked up a 3-point Super Raid to reduce Fortunegiants’ lead to just one point.
But Rohit Gulia produced a Super Tackle on Vikas Kandola as Steelers wasted another opportunity to clinch an All-Out with under 7 minutes left on the clock. But Vikas Kandola picked his game up to clinch successive multi-point raids to finally give Steelers an All-Out and a one-point lead with under 4 minutes left in the match.
A nail-biting finish to the match saw Fortunegiants level the points with a tackle on Vikas Kandola with one second left on the clock. However, that one second proved too costly for the Fortunegiants as Steelers defenders ushered Rohit Gulia out of the mat to clinch a point and the victory.