The Giants took on the home team Jaipur Pink Panthers in an evenly fought encounter at the Sawai Mansingh stadium on Saturday, 21st September. Our new Captain Rohit Gulia took charge of the Giants for the first time this season, hoping for a change in fortunes.

Recent results haven’t gone our way, however, a new leg combined with a week off was the exact preparations we needed heading into two back to back matches. Coach Manpreet opted for the same Starting Seven, with the only change being the choice of captaincy.

We started off brightly, with Sachin Tanwar opening our account in the very first raid of the match sending this season’s highest scoring defender Sandeep Dhull to the bench. Jaipur however, responded strongly, tackling both Sachin and Rohit Gulia in successive raids.
It was a fairly even battle, with both teams trading blows at regular intervals. The tie was so evenly balanced till the 10th minute, that even the scoreline read 6-6.

What followed though was a horror run for our Giants as Deepak Hooda and Sandeep Dhull inflicted raid after raid, and tackle after tackle to score 9 points on the trot and take the scoreline to 15-6 in their favour. Just when the game threatened to slip away, Parvesh pulled of a stunning tackle on Sushil Gulia and Sachin started his assault on the Panthers defence to bridge the gap. All in all it was a disappointing half as we trailed the Panthers by 5 points, with the scoreline reading 15-10.

The second half was a thing of beauty, with our Giants fully motivated and ready to pull off a comeback. Even though we started off on the wrong foot, our defence rose to the occasion, pulling us back into contention. A Pankaj tackle on Ajinkya Pawar was followed by two successful raids from Sachin and Rohit to bring the gap down to just 4 points.
In the fifth minute of the second-half, Sunil Kumar tackled Sushil Gulia to inflict a Panthers All-Out, and bring us to within 2 points.

More GB and Sunil Kumar turned the match on its head, tackling Nitin Rawal and Sachin Narwal in succession to draw us level on the night, before Pankaj tackled Deepak Hooda to give us the lead for the first time since the third minute of the game. Rohit Gulia and Sachin went on to add to our lead, before another mighty Parvesh tackle sent Ajinkya Pawar to the bench.

With the Giants leading 25-22, Rohit Gulia went in to raid in the 36th minute, hoping to inflict an All-Out on the Panthers. The 30 second raid was one with its fair share of drama, as Rohit was tackled by 2 defenders, but still fought his way to the half-way line. While the referee initially awarded us the points, it was overturned and awarded as a Super Tackle for the Panthers.

Another tackle from More GB saw us reclaim our 2 point advantage, and with 2 minutes left on the clock, Nitin Rawal pulled off another Super Tackle on Sachin Tanwar to level the scores. Sachin was just inches away from completing the raid, and probably sealing our victory, but it just wasn’t to be.

With the result of the match on a knife's edge, Parvesh took down Deepak Hooda once again to give us the lead with just under a minute left on the clock.

With just enough time left for two complete raids, Captain Rohit went in to try and seal the victory. Jaipur had two players left on the mat, and with the Super Tackle opportunity up for grabs, they pounced on Rohit. In the struggle, Rohit nearly crossed the half way line, with 5 successive attempts to complete the raid. He went agonisingly close, falling centimeters short on each occasion thus resulting in another Super Tackle for the Panthers.

With Jaipur 28-27 up and just a raid to go, all the Panthers needed to do was complete a legal raid and steal the victory. Parvesh was in no mood to let that happen, pouncing on Nitin Rawal with a second to go to level the scores. With that all important tackle, Parvesh rescued 3 points for the Giants and also secured his High 5.

Despite avoiding a defeat the result was disappointing. The second half comeback was sensational and they team played out of their skins hoping to bag all 5 points. With certain calls going against us and moments of sheer bad luck, we can walk away with our heads held high and our belief unshattered.

Perfect Raider of the Match: Sachin Tanwar
Dream 11 Game Changer of the Match: Parvesh Bhainswal

We now face U Mumba in our next match on Sunday at 7:30 PM in the final game of the Jaipur Leg. With all our remaining matches being must-wins, the fire in our bellies now burn brighter than ever.