Jaipur Pink Panthers picked up their second victory over Haryana Steelers in a thrilling Zone A clash in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday. With a 38-32 win, Jaipur picked up their first win in 5 games.
Haryana Steelers star raider Vikas Kandola led from the front as he almost scripted a thrilling comeback for his side.
With skipper Monu Goyat continuing to struggle with his form, Steelers saw themselves trailing by 16-9 in the first half. But Kandola, only 20 years of age, showed maturity beyond years, and went on to finish his 4th Super 10 in 10 matches, and ensured his side takes the lead at the close of the first half.
But, Kandola’s efforts were not enough as Deepak Niwas Hooda, who remained the star performer for Jaipur throughout the night, brought his side back into the lead early on, also completing a Super 10 in the process. Hooda was well supported by the defence duo of Nitin Rawal and Mohit Chillar who scored 4 points each and shut down offensive raids from Kandola.
Speaking to reporters, Haryana coach K Jagmohan blamed defensive errors in the second half for the close defeat. “We lost our second game against Jaipur. We had a lead of 23-18, but we made some defensive errors which cost us the match,” he said.
He also added that Kandola made some errors in the final few minutes of the match. “Kandola could not decide whether he should move ahead or stay back and his indecisiveness cost us a point. But otherwise, he played really well,” he said.
Jaipur captain Anup Kumar said that his side employed a five-man defence to tackle the Kandola’s threat in the second half. “We have to plan as per raider. Vikas was playing so good and it was because of him, the match went so close. We played a 5-man defence against Kandola, because we wanted to close down the chance of bonus point. We allowed the raiders to get inside and tackled them down, to earn points,” he said.