Star raider Vikas Kandola did the star turn as Haryana Steelers beat U Mumba 30-27 for an important win in a Pro Kabaddi League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Monday.
The closely fought contest saw the Mumbai side match the Steelers till the very end, but Kandolas nine-point game and some uncharacteristic errors from the U Mumba defence handed Haryana victory.
Both sides went into the match with identical records (four wins and four losses in eight matches), but Haryana Steelers started aggressively, with coach Rakesh Kumar recognising the lack of raiding quality in U Mumba’s ranks.
The defence kept a high line, strangling U Mumba’s opportunities to pick up Bonus Points, thereby forcing them to make mistakes while Vikas Kandola picked up the points with his raids in the other end.
His three-point Super Raid 12 minutes into the match set the tone for the Haryana side, which inflicted an All-Out on U Mumba with three minutes remaining to half time.
Steelers led 16-8 at half-time.
In the second half, the introduction of raider Abhishek
Singh by U Mumba brought about a change in the proceedings as his raids helped the team reduce the lead to just two points 10 minutes into the half.
However, consecutive Super Tackles by Ravi Kumar and Chand Singh, along with a few errors in the Mumbai defence quickly widened the gap to 25-17 in favour of Haryana with seven minutes to the final whistle.
Sandeep Narwal’s raid for Mumbai with six minutes left on the clock, taking out Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Chand Singh, tilted the balance of the match once again and the subsequent all-out meant the gap was reduced to one point with less than three minutes remaining.
But the push came a little too late for Mumbai as they succumbed to another defeat.