It was not just a match between teams but two extremely close friends, who made a debut in the sport almost together. It was a face-off between two stalwart coaches, Rakesh Kumar, and Anup Kumar, as they saw their teams Haryana Steelers and Puneri Paltan lock horns for a clash for the very first time in Pro Kabaddi 2019.
Prashanth Kumar Rai and Vikash Kandola were notable absentees from the Haryana Steelers line-up while Nitin Tomar did not feature in this clash for the Puneri Paltan.
Haryana Steelers: Naveen, Vikas Kale, Parveen, Selvamani K., Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Vinay, Kuldeep Singh
Puneri Paltan: Amit Kumar, Surjeet Singh, Shubham Shinde, Deepak Yadav, Manjeet, Girish Ernak, Pawan Kadian
Puneri Paltan won the toss and chose the court.
Naveen from the Steelers went out for the first raid and returned empty-handed. Pune scored their first point after Vinay grabbed Amit Kumar firmly on the ankles. In the next raid, Haryana's defense hunted Pawan Kadian down and won their first point of PKL 2019.
Manjeet, who played for the Pirates last season, went in and picked up a beautiful two-pointer for the Paltan. Naveen became the first one to pick up a raid point for the Steelers.
As the minutes passed by, Pune kept on losing players on the mat and came down to just three players. Known for their defense, Pune inflicted a super tackle and brought some hope for the squad. However, Despite Surjeet Singh's efforts, Pune suffered an unfortunate all out in the 11th minute of the match.
Selvamani, who was a former member of the Jaipur Pink Panthers picked up the first Super Raid of the match for the Haryana Steelers. Steelers, going on with full-confidence once again inflicted an all-out on the Paltans in just the 15th minute of the match. The first half concluded with the score 22-10 in favor of the Steelers.
Haryana moved on to the second half with a lot of confidence. Pawan Kadian scored the first point for the Paltans after getting away from the clutches of Haryana's captain, Dharmaraj Cheralathan.
Manjeet picked up a fantastic tackle point after he single-handedly pulled off an ankle hold on Vinay, who struggled to get back to the mid-line. With players from both teams pitching in points, the heated match continued.
In the 32nd minute of the match, Haryana Steelers had a comfortable 11-point lead over Pune. Naveen, who played like a star, completed his first super ten of PKL 2019. Both Anup and Rakesh kept on taking time-outs and instructing their teams accordingly. As the face-off resumed, both Pune and Haryana consecutively kept on scoring points, in both offense and defense.
With 23-31 as the score in the 38th minute, Haryana Steelers stormed away with the lead. With a top-class super tackle in the last 40 seconds, the Steelers ended the match on a brilliant note after winning with a ten-point lead, with the scorecard reading 34-24 at full time.
The Steelers, despite not having Prashanth and Vikas in their starting seven, did a great job with both the departments working in unison. Pune disappointingly failed to get a lead over Haryana throughout the clash as their defensive unit, boasting of the likes of Surjeet Singh and Girish Ernak failed to make any sort of an impact.