Meetu and Rohit Gulia shone for Haryana Steelers as an all-round performance enabled them to beat Telugu Titans 39-37 in match 18 of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 at the Sheraton Grand in Bengaluru on Tuesday. This was Haryana Steelers’ first win in this season helping them climb to the eighth spot in the standings meanwhile the Telugu Titans slipped further down to 11th place.
Meetu scored 12 raid points while Rohit Gulia scored eight as they kept Haryana Steelers in good stead throughout the match. Initially, Rohit started the proceedings with a bonus point for Haryana Steelers.
Telugu Titans’ talisman Siddharth Desai got into business immediately when he started with a bonus and got a running hand touch on Jaideep in his next raid.
The Telugu Titans restored parity at 5-5 with some good defensive work when the team combined well to send Rohit out. However, Siddharth Desai, on a super tackle and a do-or-die raid, couldn’t escape the clutches of Ravi Kumar when he seemed to misjudge the defenders move. The move gave Haryana Steelers a slender lead and Meetu dodged a team tackle as he took two defenders in his wake to give Haryana Steelers a three-point lead.
Siddharth Desai and Rakesh Gowda relied on bonus points in their raids as they narrowed the deficit for Telugu Titans. Meanwhile, for the Steelers, Rohit and Meetu were on the money as the game passed by before Haryana Steelers inflicted the first all-out on Telugu Titans to take the lead to 16-11.
Vikash Kandola wasn’t in his element and was off colour but the Haryana Steelers kept their composure to stretch the lead to 23-19 at half-time.
Haryana Steelers came a tad stronger in the second half as Telugu Titans’ defence looked all at sea. Cover defender Surinder Singh was a tad sloppy as he gifted Haryana Steelers some crucial points in crunch moments.
Siddharth Desai was substituted by Akash Choudhary, due to his injury, and at 21-30 Telugu Titans suffered a second all-out of the night as they lost grip on the match.
Poor defensive tactics hurt Telugu Titans as they suffered a host of unsuccessful tackles with Sandeep failing to hold on to advanced ankle holds more than once. Out of 21 tackles in the match, Telugu Titans only had five successful tackles, a statistic that hurt them the most.
On the other side, Surender Nada and Ravi Kumar were spot on in the Haryana Steelers’ defence as they compounded Telugu Titans’ woes. Shortly, Meetu soon scored his Super 10, his first, when he took two defenders in his way as Haryana Steelers lead at 36-26.
Although Telugu Titans stepped up on the pedal in the last five minutes, the lead was beyond their reach. The last do-or-die raid for Haryana Steelers did not matter much as it was only of academic interest as they won 39-37.
Featured photo: Pro Kabaddi