Gujarat Giants produced an impressive comeback in the second half but later succumbed to a heartbreaking one-point defeat against Haryana Steelers in a thrilling Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 9 match at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune on Monday, November 14.
Led by talismanic captain Chandran Ranjit, the Giants bounced back from a 16-21 deficit at the end of the first half and gave a neck-to-neck fight to the Manpreet Singh-coached Steelers throughout the second half before losing 32-33 in a close contest.
For the Giants, Chandran Ranjit led from the front as he bagged eight points along with valuable contributions from star raider Rakesh, who picked seven points including completing five successful raids.
Under head coach Ram Mehar Singh, the Giants began the match with a quick raid before Manjeet earned a Super Raid straightaway to give Haryana Steelers an early lead. The Giants tried to reduce the gap through a Super Tackle on Manjeet by Rinku Narwal. But minutes later, the Steelers inflicted an ALL OUT on Gujarat to take a big lead.
Rakesh and Ranjit began the Giants' fightback as they earned two Super Raids to reduce the gap between the two sides. But Manjeet earned his second Super Raid of the game to ensure the Steelers maintained their control of the match. Manjeet earned another quick raid point in the dying minutes of the first half to complete his SUPER 10 as the Steelers went into halftime with a 21-16 lead.
The second half started with Manjeet earning another raid point to ensure Haryana stayed in control of the match. But Mahendra Rajput earned a SUPER RAID, while Rinku caught Manjeet as Giants showcased their intent to fight till the final whistle. With Rakesh earning a Super Raid, Giants inflicted an ALL OUT on the opposition as the match shifted gears.
Haryana regained their lead with Mahendra being tackled down by Jaideep. But Kapil took down Manjeet on the other end to ensure the scoreline remained level. With five minutes left on the clock, both teams had everything to play for as they remained tied on points. Manjeet earned a running hand touch on Ranjit to get the lead back for Steelers. In the final minute, Jaideep earned a tackle point on Mahendra to help Haryana stay ahead in the match. The Steelers played their cards perfectly in the final seconds of the game and eventually clinched a thrilling win.
The Giants are currently placed 11th in the PKL 9 standings with 32 points from 13 matches while the Steelers jumped to the eighth spot with 36 points from 14 games.
With another narrow defeat, the Giants have suffered a massive blow to their PKL 9 playoff hopes and will be desperate to win against in-form Bengaluru Bulls in their upcoming fixture at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday, November 18.