Haryana Steelers became the third team after Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors to qualify for the Pro Kabaddi League 2019 playoffs, following their narrow 38-37 win over Gujarat Fortune Giants at Panchkula.
Despite a sloppy start, Haryana's Vikash Kandola brilliantly completed his Super 10. Rohit Gulia became the top scorer of the encounter after garnering 11 points, despite his team's loss.
On the defensive front, Haryana's Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Gujarat's Parvesh Bhainswal did well after collecting 4 and 3 points respectively.
Rohit Gulia inaugurated the match with an empty raid, followed by which, Vikash Kandola opened the account of the home team with a bonus. A commendable Super Raid by skipper Gulia commenced the night for the Gujarat-based franchise.
Five minutes into the anticipated encounter, Gujarat cruised to 6-5. They seemed to sail smoothly against a team who had a great campaign in the season so far.
Despite the match being a close-called affair, Gujarat looked slightly stronger in this contest in comparison with the hot favourites. Kandola was constantly kept mum by the rival defenders.
Haryana, claiming Sonu Jaglan out, asked for a review in the 18th minute, which was declared unsuccessful upon inspection.
The first half concluded with the visitors in a 19-14 lead. Prashanth Kumar Rai's successful raid kicked off the second half, which was then followed by an empty raid by Gulia.
Kandola by then was truly struggling, which was clearly evident. He even suffered a Super Tackle by Gujarat's defensive front and was sent to the bench.
Giving a fitting reply, veteran captain Dharmaraj Cheralathan inflicted a power-packed Super Tackle on the rival leader, Gulia.
A wonderful Super Raid by Kandola, when challenged by Gujarat, was declared futile, which also reduced the score difference in the blink of an eye. However, in his very next raid, Kandola suffered an unexpected Super Tackle, which sent him off the mat for the umpteenth time.
With just three minutes remaining on the clock, Haryana inflicted an all-out on Gujarat. The all-out put them in the lead for the first time, all thanks to an out-of-the-world raid by Kandola, It also helped him complete his ninth Super 10 of PKL 2019.
There was still much life left in the intense clash, as no side was ready to give up. The dying minutes of the battle saw both squads pitch in points tirelessly.
The heart-stopping battle came to an end as the match result disclosed itself in the buzzer raid. The Haryana Steelers narrowly defeated the Gujarat Fortune Giants 38-37. Despite the result, both teams put up an outstanding game.