Puneri Paltan secured a thrilling 33-31 win over Gujarat Fortunegiants at the Patliputra Sports Complex in Patna. Sachin Tanwar produced an emphatic performance in the second half and registered a season-high 9 points, however, our defense failed to back him up, costing us dearly in a closely-contested battle.
Both teams started off in a circumspect manner, as they took many empty raids in the first quarter of the contest. More GB provided strong support in both attack and defence in the early stages, but it was Rohit Gulia, who was responsible in enforcing Puneri Paltan’s first all-out in the 16th minute.
Rohit got their key raider Manjeet, before sending Girish Ernak and Shubham Shinde to the bench in successive raids. After Rohit’s heroics, Ruturaj Koravi tackled a solitary man on the Puneri Paltan’s side, Amit Kumar, as we took a comfortable 15-9 lead.
The Paltans responded strongly in the closing stages of the first half, with smart raids and good tackles. It looked like Puneri Paltan would inflict an all-out, but Ankit Super-tackled Amit Kumar with a stunning ankle hold, as we headed into the break with a slender lead of 17-14.
Puneri Paltan never allowed us to build any momentum in the second half, and eventually enforced an all out in the 23rd minute, taking a 20-18 lead. After a very quiet first half, Sachin Tanwar went all guns blazing and proved to be a nightmare for Surjeet & co.
Sachin took a two-point raid before Sumit Malik tackled Manjeet to draw us level at 24-24 in the 29th minute. The Puneri Paltan’s defence had all answers to More GB and Rohit Gulia. Sachin, however, constantly threatened them and kept us in the tie.
With the scoreboard reading 29-27 in favour of Puneri Paltan, anything was possible. It was all to play for in the last 3 minutes before Girish Ernak tackled Sachin Tanwar to break our hearts.
Sonu Jaglan took Surjeet Singh out but was unsuccessful against Girish Ernak in the subsequent raid as we lost the match by two points.
Full Time: Gujarat Fortunegiants 31-33 Puneri Paltan
Perfect raider of the match: Sachin Tanwar
After two successive defeats, the Giants will be back at their den, where we will face Tamil Thalaivas at the EKA Arena by Transstadia, in Ahmedabad on 10th August.