A superb all-round performance by the Gujarat Giants helped them defeat Puneri Paltan 47-37 to secure their first win of the season at the Shree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday, October 14.
Two-time finalists Gujarat Giants rode on star raider Rakesh’s 15 points to claim a convincing victory in the final game of the night.
A hesitant start by both teams saw the Giants pull away into the lead, courtesy of Rakesh's constant success on the raids. Despite not getting many touch points, Puneri Paltan's raiders kept their team within touching distance through bonus points.
However, it all came apart for the Paltan soon enough though as Rakesh caught both the Iranian defenders in the Puneri line-up in consecutive raids, to establish an emphatic lead. The last Paltan man on the mat, Aslam Inamdar was caught while raiding as the Giants initiated the first All Out of the game to take a five-point lead at 16-11.
That All Out galvanised the sluggish Paltan team into action as their captain Fazel Atrachali was at the forefront of the resurgence, his ankle hold on Rakesh, and then a subsequent one on Chandran Ranjit meant the Giants lost their two lead raiders in the space of two minutes.
At the other end, Inamdar had chipped away at the lead too. The Giants went into halftime leading at 19-17.
Paltan started the second half where they'd left off the first, hacking away at the Giants' lead and their confidence constantly. Soon enough, they initiated their first All Out and with it took the lead for the first time at 22-21.
The turning point came with Giants' raider Rakesh catching Atrachali out on a raid, halfway through the second half. Minutes after that, the Giants had initiated their second All Out of the match to retake the lead.
A Super Raid by Rakesh — catching out Atrachali, Balasaheb Jadhav and Mohit Goyat — led to another All Out with five minutes of the game left, and the Giants took a near unassailable lead at 43-31. It was one they held on to, as they took their first victory of the season.
Gujarat Giants now will lock horns with in-form Jaipur Pink Panthers in the first game of the triple-header at the Shree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Saturday, October 15.