Haryana Steelers’ Vikash Kandola once again emerged the star performer for his side, as the Steelers maintained their unbeaten record against Bengal Warriors in Pro Kabaddi League 2019. In a close-contested battle between the two at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi, Kandola’s eleven raid points proved decisive as Haryana edged-out their opponents 36-33.
“It was an all-round effort and this is the reason we emerged victoriously. I got great support from Vinay in the raids and both of us put up a great performance together. We also received great backing from the defence,” the 21-year-old raider told indianexpress.com after the match.
“The Super Tackle by Cheralathan in the dying moments of the match completely changed the course of the clash. Vinay’s raid towards the end, which helped us eliminate two players from the opposition, proved to be a turning point in the game,” he explained further.
In a match dominated by the raiders, Kandola and Bengal captain, Maninder Singh put a solid performance. Succumbing to their pressure, the opposition defence continued making errors, leaking points at crucial junctures.
Maninder, who earned 15 points, the highest by any player in the match gave his side a strong start. However, a Super Raid executed by Vinay in the very next minute gave Haryana a crucial 3-points lead, sending the Warriors’ defence trio of Viraj Vishnu Landge, Jeeva Kumar and Rinku Narwal back in the dugout.
However, Bengal soon bounced back in the contest as K Prapanjan completed a four-point Super Raid in the sixth minute to balance the equation. Building on the momentum, Bengal then went on to inflict the first All-Out of the match in the 11th minute, leading by 14-10.
However, it’s impact did not last long as Kandola continued his attacking approach, helping the Steelers take a one-point advantage in the first half (18-17). In the process, the Haryana raider also completed his 300th raid point in the Pro Kabaddi League.
Resuming the action in the second half, Haryana started on a strong note as they inflicted their first All-Out of the match in the opening two minutes, setting the scoreboard at 21-17.
Both the star performers of the night, Vikas and Maninder, kept fetching points for their teams as they completed their respective Super 10s in the second half.
Maninder also recorded a personal milestone in the match as he crossed 500 points in the league. However, the night belonged to Haryana as their most experienced candidate, Dharmaraj Cheralathan produced a Super Tackle, with six minutes remaining on the clock. The 44-year-old kabaddi stalwart steadied the defence in the dying minutes of the match to secure an important win for his side.
With this win, Haryana also rose one place on the points table, as they are now placed fifth with 31 points in 10 matches. Revelling in the joy of climbing up the places in the table, Vikas expressed that his dream is to win a gold medal for India.
“I still have a long way ahead and it requires a lot of effort. I look up to Ajay Thakur and Pardeep Narwal, and just like them I want to represent the nation and win a gold medal for the country.”
“My journey has not been very smooth as I was prone to injury at the beginning, which created doubts in my mind. However, the goal is to keep myself fit,” he concluded talking about how he can contribute more to his team.