Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Five talking points from Day 23 of PKL 5
More late misery for the Yoddha and Thalaivas on the penultimate night in Lucknow.
The one team that has so far lived up to its name in this season of Pro Kabaddi has been the Haryana Steelers. Led by Surender Nada, the team has displayed a steely resolve that has led to the downfall of many opposition teams. They needed that resolve tonight to see off the challenge of Dabang Delhi as they overcame a spirited comeback from their opponents to win 26-24.
Looking to arrest their slump, the UP Yoddha took to the mat for the second match of the night against the Tamil Thalaivas, a side against whom they had drawn the last time they played. And in a dramatic match dictated by silly errors from each side, we ended up somehow with yet another tie with each side having its chance to emerge victorious. 33-33 it finished meaning the Yoddha are yet to win in Lucknow.
#1 A blowout at one stage turns into a close game
The Haryana Steelers were in complete control of their match against Dabang Delhi at half-time as they led 17-9. After a fast start from Delhi, the Steelers had broken the game open with an All Out to lead 11-3 with under 11 minutes played before eventually holding that 8-point lead at the break. They had contributions coming in from the entire unit, both in attack and defence. It looked to be smooth sailing and a comfortable five points.
Whether it was complacency or just a lack of focus, the Steelers though came out lethargic in the second half while Delhi mounted a bit of a surge. With a good start, they cut the advantage to six points and then their captain Meraj Sheykh pulled off a coup when he got rid of the explosive corner combination of Surender Nada and Mohit Chhillar in a single raid thanks to Nada's error on the Do or Die raid. That brought the deficit down to four and soon the Steelers found themselves at the receiving end of an All Out and just a 2-point advantage with over three minutes still remaining.
Dabang had mounted a 10-2 run in the first eight minutes of the second half to tie the game up at 19-19. The Steelers found their composure at just the right time though to recapture the lead and just edge the contest at the end, capturing Delhi captain Meraj on the penultimate raid of the match.
This game was another testament that no game is a foregone conclusion at half-time.