Bengaluru: Gurvinder Singh emerged star for his side as Patna Pirates edged past Bengal Warriors 34-32 to keep their play-off hopes alive in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi tournament, in Bengaluru on Friday.
Gurvinder's 10 raid points, a couple of bonus points and a few assists in defence tilted the crucial and closely fought in his Patna's favour. He also got good support from defender Girish Ernak.
With five points, Patna have taken their tally to 30 points with three matches to play. They are now placed fifth in the table. The Warriors with 26 have just one match left and lie seventh.
The match was a do-or-die for Patna while for the Warriors it was a matter of pride. They failed to win but showed enough pluck and fight despite the absence of top defender Nilesh Shinde and two of his associates Bajirao Hodage and Sachin Khambe also injured.
The lack of form meant captain Dinesh Kumar too had to warm the bench. It reflected in their play, when they were all-out in the 11th minute. They were down at 6-12. The difference remained the same at half-time with the winners leading 18-12.
For Patna it was Gurvinder who did bulk of scoring. Bengal made their presence felt through two super raids from Mahendra Rajput and Jang Kun Lee. Gurvinder too had one super raid when he had Jang, his Korean mate Seong Ryeol Kim playing in place of Nilesh and Shyam Kumar Sah to keep his team well ahead.
The situation was well in control for Patna till Kedar Lal took the field in the second half for Bengal. He stunned the rivals with a super raid to close the gap to 17-21. A moment before that Ravi Dalal's super raid had Bengal on the brink of an all-out. Kedar's heroic act not only saved his team but helped them fight back.
Captain for the day, Sunil Jaipal got two points from as many do-or-die raids and when Jang got a couple Sunil completed the formalities of the all-out. And suddenly the match came alive with Bengal going up 27-26.
From then on it was neck to neck with the lead changing hands. But it was again the wiry Punjab lad Gurvinder who came to his team's rescue. He netted three in two raids.
Captain Sandeep Narwal then got one for the equalizer (30-30). The Pirates were relieved when substitute Deepak Narwal who had scored a couple earlier evaded Vijin Thangadurai's tackle to keep the scores level. But finally it was the dare devilry of Girish Ernak the boy from Thane in Maharashtra effecting four perfect catches on Sunil Jaipal, Jang Kun Lee, substitute Vineet Sharma and Mahendra Rajput in a do-or-die raid which finally settled the argument.
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