64th Kabaddi Nationals: Services crowned champions, trounce Haryana 22-39 in the finals
The final match of the 64th Kabaddi Nationals was a one-sided affair, with Haryana proving to be the weaker side as they went down 22-39 against the Services team.
On their course to the finals, Haryana had overcome the Railways hurdle while the Services team had thrashed the men from Maharashtra in the semi-finals to set up the star-studded final clash. Idols turned rivals in this encounter as the young gun Pardeep Narwal of the Services locked horns against his mentor Anup Kumar who led the Haryana team.
Pardeep started off the proceedings in the finale but returned ashore without bagging a point. Anup Kumar then took the challenge to his U Mumba teammate, Surjeet in the Services defence but the body block was tough for the skipper to break through. The Haryana defence, however, drew the leveller soon enough on the next raid with a combination tackle for the score to rest at 1-1.
Ajay Kumar was on song for the Services on a do-or-die raid in the 5th minute and returned with two points to take the score to 2-5. A silly, half-hearted dash near the midline in the 7th minute was not enough to stop the man on fire, Pardeep Narwal post which he also claimed a running hand touch on Rajesh Narwal to power his team to a four-point lead, 3-7.
The 12th minute witnessed a tremendous effort from Pardeep Narwal when he slid his way across to the midline from under Yogesh Hooda and over Sandeep Narwal, to inflict an early ALL-OUT on Haryana and power the score to 5-13.
With 5 minutes left on the clock, a collected and combined effort from the Services team ensured that Rajesh Narwal was brought down and sent off to the bench, the score 8-16 in favour of the Services.
Yogesh Hooda, however, did come back to earn a well-prized raid point, but it was Nitin Tomar who stole the limelight. His exceptional toe touch on Ravinder and a thigh hold in the right corner on Rajesh Narwal in the 17th minute meant a 9 point lead for the Services team when the two teams went into the halftime break.
HALF TIME: Haryana 10-19 Services
Surjeet seemed to in lethal form for the Services, when he affected a strong body block against Anup Kumar in the 25th minute to get the crucial point and more importantly send the experienced skipper off to the bench. A successful raid and a mighty ankle hold from Rajesh Narwal on Monu Goyat, saw Haryana reduce the points deficit to 8 points, 13-21 in the next minute.
The Haryana team showcased a rare glimpse of their watertight defence in the 29th minute to tackle Pardeep Narwal and seek the revival of their talismanic captain Anup Kumar. The next minute saw Nitin Tomar falling prey to the defence and Haryana looked like they were beginning to stage a comeback.
The 31st minute saw a superb effort from Yogesh Hooda of Haryana for he entered the lobbies without a touch, but with himself dragged across three men in tow. However, three consecutive unsuccessful raids from Rajesh Narwal, Sandeep Narwal and Yogesh himself saw Haryana lag behind 19-31 at the end of 33 minutes.
The final nail in the coffin was hammered in the 35th minute when the Services inflicted a second ALL-OUT on Haryana, to secure the proceedings in their favour with a massive 15 point lead.
Rajesh Narwal sneaked in a bonus point in the 37th minute, but it was not enough to make amends to the damage that had been caused by the Services team who led the encounter by a great margin and finished it off with a scoreline of 22-39.
FULL TIME: Haryana 22-39 Services
The trio of Pardeep Narwal, Surjeet and Nitin Tomar, all part of the recent World Cup winning Indian team, were the real stars of the finals, proving to be a hurdle that the Anup Kumar led Haryana side found difficult to surpass and thus powered the Services team to victory at the 64th Kabaddi Nationals.