Haryana Steelers’ all-round performance helped them beat Puneri Paltan 37-30 in match 64 of Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, Bengaluru on Wednesday, January 19. 

With Kabaddi stalwarts Rakesh Kumar and Anup Kumar managing Haryana and Pune respectively, the match was bound to be an intensely-contested affair. But Rakesh and his Steelers had the last laugh thanks largely due to a dominant performance in the second half. Haryana’s defenders Jaideep and Mohit picked up 7 tackle points each while captain Vikash Kandola had 8 raid points. 

The first half saw the lead see-sawing between the two sides. Haryana Steelers’ defence was certainly in the groove as Mohit and Jaideep thwarted the Pune raiders. Aslam Inamdar and Pankaj Mohite struggled to derive errors from the Steelers while at the other end Pune matched it with resolute defending. Pune had conceded 50 points in their previous match, but Sanket Sawant and Sombir ensured the covers remained safe. A well-timed Super Tackle by the latter with less than a minute to go for half time ensured the teams changed sides with scores 14-14.

But Haryana came out of the blocks much sharper after the restart. Vikash Kandola’s raiding ensured they got an All Out in the 3rd minute. The Steelers’ defenders were in great shape too with Jaideep and Mohit picking up High 5s. Coach Rakesh Kumar had asked his men to not show Nitin Tomar too much respect on the mat. With Nitin Tomar neutralised by the motivated defenders, Aslam Inamdar struggling and no Mohit Goyat available, Pune looked blunt without any raiding prowess.

Haryana clinched another All Out with 8 minutes remaining to open a 10-point lead. Substitute Vishwas S. brought some belief back into the Pune camp with clinical raiding, but Haryana held firm. Jaideep and Mohit kept pulling off outstanding tackles to ensure Pune’s raiders had no chance of rescuing their team. Vishwas’ forays in the dying minutes however helped Pune lose with a margin of just 7 points which helped the team get 1 point in the points table.

Featured photo: Pro Kabaddi