In match 71 of Pro Kabaddi League season 7, Haryana Steelers were up against Puneri Paltan on neutral turf in Bengaluru. Thanks to a great all-round performance, the Steelers were able to register a comfortable win over their opponents. Raider Vikash Kandola starred with 11 points for the Gurugram-based team.
The match started with Nitin Tomar of Paltan and Vikash Kandola of Steelers raiding from their two respective sides and scoring points. Tomar went on a point scoring spree and his first three raids produced four points with two players eliminated by him in the third one. This allowed Puneri team to establish a slight lead but Tomar was eventually tackled.
It was 6-6 in the ninth minute but then Paltan took the lead with Haryana's raider Vinay getting tackled. The Pune-based team extended their lead to three points thanks to a raid from Manjeet and successful tackle of Prasanth Kumar Rai. Haryana were now down to three men in the 12th minute.
Then, Paltan had a do or die raid for which Nitin Tomar was substituted out and Sushant Sail brought in. However, the latter failed to win the raid and was tackled out as Haryana's recovery began. Points were exchanged in the next few moments and the score was again level at 9-9 in the 15th minute.
Then Steelers began to extend their lead. Manjeet from Paltan was tackled and Kandola raided successfully to take the lead to two points. With Puneri down to three men and in desperate need of points, Tomar was brought back in through substitution.
But raider Vinay got a point and Tomar got tackled out with one and a half minute remaining in the first half. Pune soon had just one player remaining when Pankaj Mohite was brought in as substitute by them and he delivered by picking up two points, one of them through bonus. But this was only a temporary recovery. Vikash Kandola showed his class again by removing two players in one of his raids and Pune were reduced to just one player. With less than 10 seconds remaining, they were all out as the score read 17-11.
There was time remaining for one more raid and in that, Tomar was tackled successfully as first half ended at 18-11 in Haryana's favour.
After the first half, things didn't get much better for the Pune team. The lead was extended to 21-11 by their opponents. Pankaj Mohite of Pune kept trying hard and was the one player who impressed a lot. He got a brace of points in one of his early raids in the second half to start a possible recovery but it was only a temporary relief.
Tomar was carrying the bulk of the responsibility on his bulky shoulders but not all his raids were successful. A good ankle grab foiled one of them. Pune were down to two men again in the 11th minute of the second half as the scorecard read 31-17. Amit Kumar was brought in as substitute by Pune to revive them but a very weak raid proved disastrous for him. Down to one player, the second all-out of the match was soon suffered by Pune and the match seemed out of their reach.
Leading 35-17, Haryana merely had to avoid a catastrophe and they managed to do that without much trouble. Tomar again went for a raid immediately after an all-out and was, just like the first occasion, tackled out. Mohite continued to impress and pulled off a brilliant flying raid where he leapt over defenders to get two points in what was a consolation for the losing team.
With five minutes to go, the score was 37-20 in Steelers favour but they were down to four man and an opportunity presented itself to the Pune team. But they couldn't take it as Haryana recovered.
Mohite was given the responsibility to do some magic again but wasn't able to and Tomar also failed to continue his point-scoring spree. Right towards the end of the game, when the lead had swelled to nearly 20 points, some points began to be scored by the Pune side. They even reduced their opponents to just two players with half a minute to go and then, through Amit Kumar's raid, even had them with just one player on-mat. But all that this player had to do is go for a raid and not engage. He did that and ran down the clock as the 71st match of Pro Kabaddi League ended 41-27 in Haryana's favour.