Haryana Steelers held Jaipur Pink Panthers to a 32-32 draw in a VIVO Pro Kabaddi League match at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday. Jaipur Pink Panthers, thanks largely to their captain Deepak Niwas Hooda’s 14 raid points, had a slender a lead going into the final minutes and will rue the mistake that allowed Haryana the opportunity to steal three points from the encounter.
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The teams went into the match with contrasting forms. Haryana were on a five-match winning run while the Pink Panthers had their last four on the trot. But Kabaddi is a sport of unpredictability, and that was all too evident as the Jaipur team started the match brightly. The Pink Panthers’ success in the early stages of the ongoing season was largely due to the Deepak Niwas Hooda’s raiding prowess and their captain was in the thick of things once again, securing seven raid points in the first half. The Pink Panthers inflicted an All-Out on the Steelers in the 16th minute to open a six-point gap. But the Haryana team have been one of the league’s best this season, and raider Vikas Kandola sparked a revival, ably supported by Prashanth Kumar Rai. Kandola’s five-point raid in the dying minutes of the first half gave the Steelers their first All-Out of the match and brought about a change in momentum. The first half ended with Haryana leading Jaipur 18-14.
Haryana maintained their dominance in the second half, with Vinay also taking up the raiding duties. Pink Panthers’ lack of quality support raiders for Deepak Hooda hurt them badly as Haryana’s defence held firm. Ravi Kumar picked up a High 5 for Haryana but Deepak Hooda produced a series of successful raids to make it three-point game going into the final minutes. Deepak Hooda also secured a Super 10 and secured a personal milestone of 800 raid points in the process. The Pink Panthers’ teamwork helped them clinch another All-Out with four minutes left in the clock to make it a nervous end to the match for both sides. But in the end, nothing could separate the sides after a final minute blunder by Jaipur’s Sachin Narwal handed Steelers a point. Jaipur squandered a great opportunity move to fifth as they remained fifth in the table.