Giants fight hard but lose to Steelers

In a heart-stopping encounter of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 7, Gujarat Fortune Giants went down fighting to Haryana Steelers by a point in Panchkula on Sunday. In a match that went down to the last minute, Gujarat lost 37-38.

Two time finalists Giants, as seen this season, were once again guilty of surrendering in the last moments. Rohit Gulia led side had a comfortable lead but Vikas Kandola’s super-raid did them in the 36th minute of the match. Gujarat conceded first all-out and it changed the complexion of the game. From 33-30 in favour of Giants, the all-out meant Haryana take one point lead 34-33.

Thereon, Haryana played safe keeping at least a two point lead. But in the last minute, Giants tackled Kandola to level the scores 37-37. Gulia dared the last raid as the win was important for Gujarat for play-offs berth. Unfortunately, Gulia’s dynamic effort fell short and he was tackled by Haryana, who with the win qualified for the play-offs.

Earlier, Gujarat Fortune Giants started the match on an explosive note when captain Rohit Gulia scored a super raid in the second minute. The dynamic all-rounder, Gulia, with a timely ‘dubki’ managed to escape from the clutches of three Haryana defenders including his opposite number Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Vikas Kandola.

The super raid caused big damage in the Steelers’ defense. Next six minutes saw both the sides trading points. In the ninth minute when Haryana raider Vinay found himself in Ruturaj Koravi’s web, the Steelers stared at an all-out. In his next raid, Sonu Jaglan made no mistake as he returned with a touch point against a lone standing Vikas Kandola and Gujarat inflicted the first all-out of the match. The Giants took control of the mat with 12-6 in their favour.

Haryana, like a wounded soldier, fought back and reduced the margin to 14-12. However, at the half time whistle, Giants enjoyed a healthy five-point lead – 19-14.

Giants retained their starting-7 that played the previous night against Tamil Thalaivas. Lanky Sonu Jaglan led the raiding unit while Parvesh Bhainswal anchored the defence in absence of his chain-partner Sunil Kumar, who is down with injury.