Vikas Kandola's early raiding brilliance ensured Haryana Steelers thrashed Season 6 runners-up Gujarat Fortunegiants 41-24 in a Pro Kabaddi League encounter here on Wednesday. Vikas (8 points), Prashanth Kumar Rai (8 points) and Ravi Kumar with a High 5 (6 tackle points) led an all-round performance from the Steelers that saw the side jump to third place in the Season 7 points table.
In-form Haryana Steelers, who had lost only one match in their previous five, started the match on the front foot with their leader raider Vikas once again in the thick of things at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex. The Gujarat defence, despite having the best tackle success rates in Season 7, struggled to contain the Haryana raiding unit as the Steelers pulled clear.
Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal both struggled to contain Kandola, and the raider inflicted the first All-Out on Fortunegiants with a 3-point raid in the 15th minute of the first half to move an 8-point lead.
Ruturaj Koravi successfully tackled Vikas Kandola twice in latter stages but Haryana's raider Vinay and Prashanth Kumar Rai quickly revived their star to close the first half with scores 20-11 in favour of the Haryana side.
While the raiders usually walk away with all the credit for the Steelers, the defence has been more than influential in their winning streak. The likes of Ravi Kumar and Vikas Kale were in form again, dominating the early exchanges in the second half, which led to another All-Out for the Fortunegiants in the fifth minute of the half.
The Gujarat team struggled to keep Vikas Kandola in the bench despite a few successful tackles because Vinay and Prashanth were having an equally good game.
Vinay's three-point raid with 8 minutes remaining in the match forced another All-Out on a hapless Gujarat team as Haryana cruised to a 21-point lead. The Haryana team chose to experiment in the final stages of the match, giving rest to Vikas Kandola, and wrapped up the match without even giving away one All-Out.