Mahendra Ganesh Rajput rolled back the years with a raiding masterclass to help Gujarat Giants defeat Patna Pirates 40-34 in an exciting Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 9 match at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday, December 2.
Under head coach Ram Mehar Singh, the Giants introduced Mahendra Rajput as a substitute in the 12th minute of the game, who later produced a vintage performance - bagging 12 points including seven successful raids to power the Giants to register their second consecutive victory in as many matches in Pro Kabaddi Season 9.
Despite holding faint hope to reach the playoffs, the two teams kicked off at a high pace, trading points constantly, in the early exchanges. At the end of the first 10 minutes, every Gujarat Giants player on the mat had scored a point, a measure of how high energy the game was turning out to be. Facing an ALL OUT, the Gujarat Giants held the Patna Pirates’ raiders off on multiple occasions, before finally capitalising and turning the game on its head. A Super Raid by Mahendra Rajput took out C Sajin, Mohammadreza Chiyaneh, Monu and Sachin, to leave the Patna Pirates in trouble.
Despite a brief Patna Pirates fightback, led in the form of a Super Tackle by Neeraj Kumar on Parteek Dahiya, the Gujarat Giants soon got the first ALL OUT of the game. They inflicted it with five minutes left in the first half to take a 18-16 lead.
The Patna Pirates' Rohit Gulia got his ten points from the game in one half itself, but Rajput's raids kept catching the Patna Pirates cold. The Gujarat Giants went into the break leading 23-20.
The Gujarat Giants picked up from where they had left off after the break, Dahiya and Dong Geon keeping them in front. Faced with another ALL OUT the Patna Pirates pulled off a Super Tackle to stay within range.
Rajput completed 10 points of his own soon in the half. The game though stayed tight, neither team ceding ground, and the lead never extending two points. The teams traded do-or-die raids, with Sachin and Sonu prolific on the raid.
Right in the final moments though, the Gujarat Giants streaked ahead, and even inflicted a second ALL OUT on the Patna Pirates to all but condemn them to a loss, while taking a 39-31 lead. The Gujarat Giants eventually held on to take a valuable win.
With another comprehensive victory, the two-time PKL finalists Gujarat Giants remain in contention for the Season 9 playoffs.
Having added five more points to their tally, the Giants are still placed 11th in the PKL Season 9 standings with 46 points from 19 games, and need to continue their winning streak when they face struggling U Mumba outfit at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Sunday, December 4.