UP Yoddha’s wait for a home win continues as Tamil Thalaivas hold them to 33-33 draw; Haryana’s win take them to No 2 in Zone A; Puneri Paltan falls to No 3.
Lucknow: Meraj Sheykh almost struck gold for Dabang Delhi three minutes from close when he put his team ahead 25-24, but his unsuccessful raid in the last minute handed the new comers, Haryana Steelers, 27-25 win and the No 2 position in Zone A of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 5, on Wednesday.
The script of the match could not have been written more intricately as both Haryana and Delhi vied for crucial points on the penultimate day of action at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium.
Starting at No 3 in the Zone A table behind Gujarat Fortunegiants (41) and Puneri Paltan (21), Haryana won thanks to controlling nerves at the death of the match.
“This win would have been more satisfying if we could have secured a higher win margin. We re-looked at our half-time strategy, but that failed us. However, I am grateful for the consecutive wins here and hope that they help us gain winning momentum,” Haryana coach Ranbir Singh Khokhar said after the game.
With four minutes remaining in the match and Haryana leading 24-23, Deepak Kumar Dahiya’s unsuccessful raid put the match on even keel (24-24) and gave Delhi an opening that Meraj took it gladly after two empty raids and a time-out in between.
Meraj went in for raid and returned after scoring a point (24-25), but Haryana shot back immediately after as Surjeet broke through Delhi defence and sent two players out much to the chagrin of Delhi defenders.
Two empty raids followed, one by Delhi’s Meraj and another by Vikas Kandola followed by a time-out.
With one minute remaining, Dabang Delhi yet again sent an overworked Meraj Sheykh and he was caught successfully that allowed Haryana to go two points clear (27-25).
Deepak Kumar Dahiya cleverly wasted time with a few seconds remaining in the match to earn crucial five points frm the win.
Haryana Steelers Captain Surender Nada was critical of what could have been another tie or loss.
“Our victory margin could have been higher had we not made some silly errors. Our defence did not deliver, but I’m happy we’ve found a fine raider in Deepak (Dahiya),” he said.
Thalaivas draw Yoddha
The second match was no different than the first match as the Lucknow crowd was treated to back-to-back nail-biting finishes.
In a match between Zone B table toppers UP Yoddha and the bottom scrapper Tamil Thalaivas, the 11 point difference in their points did not matter as players from both sides kept the ante up.
UP Yodha raised Rishank Devadiga scored massively, earning 16 points, 14 from raids to two from tackles as Yoddha and Thalaivas played a see-saw game till the end.
Yoddha held a slender two-point lead with less than a minute remaining, but some silly mistakes allowed Thalaivas to close in and the time was out to leave both the teams tied at 33-33.
Haryana Steelers 27 (Deepak Kumar Dahiya 7, Surjeet Singh 5, Vikas Kandola 4, Neeraj Kumar 3) beat Dabang Delhi KC 25 (Abolfazl Maghsodlou 8, Meraj Sheykh 6, Nilesh Shinde 5).
Top raider: Abolfazl Maghsodlou (Dabang Delhi KC)
Top defender: Nilesh Shinde (Dabang Delhi KC).
UP Yoddha 33 (Rishank Devadiga 16, Nitin Tomar 4, Jeeva Kumar 3) drew with Tamil Thalaivas 33 (Ajay Thakur 10, Amit Hooda 6, Darshan J 4, Vineet Kumar 3, D Pradap 3).
Top raider: Rishank Devadiga (UP Yoddha)
Top defender: Amit Hooda (Tamil Thalaivas)