An epic second-half fightback wasn’t enough for the Giants as they came up short against Dabang Delhi at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Sunday. After having a quiet first half, Rohit Gulia wreaked havoc on the Dabang Delhi defenders and secured 13 raid points.
There were four changes made by Manpreet heading into the clash, as Dabang Delhi dominated proceedings in the opening exchanges. They raced to a 4-1 lead and with three defenders on our mat, the referee handed us two points after Naveen Kumar ran into the lobby without a touch point.
We levelled the contest at 4-4 after Ruturaj tackled Meraj Sheykh, however, Vishal Mane’s tackle on More GB revived Naveen Kumar back on the mat.
After Joginder Narwal tackled Rohit Gulia, Naveen got a five-point raid and enforced our first All-Out in the 10th minute. Sunil registered his first tackle point in the 14th minute when he pinned Meraj Sheykh down but momentum was firmly in favour of the Dabangs.
We eventually found an answer to stop Naveen Kumar in the 18th minute, as Vinod tackled him with a stunning ankle hold.
The Giants were reduced to just one man after Naveen escaped the challenge of Ruturaj and Sunil at the stroke of half-time.
The Dabangs bettered us in all departments in the first half as we went to the break trailing at 9-20.
The second half started with a surrender raid and the Dabangs took a massive lead of 23-9 after inflicting our second All-Out. The fans were expecting Naveen to continue his dominance but Rohit Gulia stole the show in the second half with his astute raids.
He targeted the corner defenders and got five raid points in the span of four minutes. Owing to his all-out attack, we bundled Delhi out in the 25th minute and reduced the deficit to just six points.
Rohit continued to attack Ravinder Pahal and Joginder Narwal, picking up raid points at regular intervals. The Dabangs failed to score a single point in the final five minutes of the third quarter and the deficit was reduced to just two points after Pankaj tackled Naveen Kumar.
Rohit Gulia completed his Super 10 and the fighting performance from the Giants gave us the belief of turning this contest in our favour. However, the two time-outs killed the momentum we gathered, and Naveen Kumar suddenly ran away with easy raid points in the final quarter.
With two minutes to go and the scoreline reading 27-31, Rohit Gulia walked into the lobby without a touch point and Sachin Tanwar was tackled by Vishal Mane in the following raid.
In the final raid of the match, Vijay surrendered a point to us and we lost the match by a four-point margin.
Full Time: Dabang Delhi 34-30 Gujarat Fortune Giants
Perfect raider of the match: Rohit Gulia
It was really an epic fightback from the Giants after trailing by 11 points in the first half. The Giants took a solitary point from this encounter, and they will be back in action against Jaipur Pink Panthers at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium, on 21st September.