Bengaluru, Jan 2 : Haryana Steelers rode on superb performance by Vikash Khandola and Meetu to beat Gujarat Giants 38-36 in Match 28 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand Whitefield.
Vikash Khandola and Meetu both scored Super 10s in the see-sawing encounter that saw Haryana race to a 12-point lead at half-time only to trail by three points in the final minutes of the match due to a 19-point performance from Gian’s’ raider Rakesh Sanrogya. But the team from Haryana kept their cool in the final raids to clinch an important win.
The first half belonged completely to Haryana Steelers who completed two all-outs. Captain Vikash Khandola in sublime form, moving across the mat with the quick-feet you often associate with him and taking on Gujarat’s defenders at will. The star-studded defence line-up of Gujarat had no answers for Khandola as his seventh-minute two-point raid gave Haryana an opportunity to inflict the match’s first all-out.
Young raider Meetu also stepped up for the Steelers who targeted Giants’ captain Sunil Kumar for the points. With six minutes remaining in the half, Haryana inflicted another all-out to open up a 12-point gap, leading to questions on Gujarat’s defensive strategy. The half ended 22-10 in favour of the Steelers with defenders Jaideep and Surender Nada also picking up two tackle points.
Gujarat Giants started the second half with a completely changed attitude. They picked up the first four points of the half with their raider Rakesh impressing. Haryana’s Esmael delayed an all-out with a Super Tackle and an important raid point but the Giants finally claimed it in the 8th minute. Rakesh clinched his Super 10 and by the end of the 10th minute, Gujarat had reduced Haryana’s lead to just 5 points. The Giants, through their raider Rakesh, kept putting pressure on the Steelers’ defence which started leaking easy points.
Gujarat got their second all-out and a lead with under four minutes remaining. Meetu then picked up a 3-point Super Raid with under two minutes to level the score. Vikash Khandola then kept calm to ensure the Steelers won the match.