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PKL 2018: Gujarat Fortunegiants hold their nerves to beat Jaipur

Prapanjan Gujarat

Jaipur Pink Panthers came back from a 13-point deficit but were overcome by Gujarat Fortunegiants in the closing seconds as they ended the match with a 33-31 loss at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex in Panchkula on Wednesday.

With this victory, Gujarat Fortunegiants sailed past U Mumba to the top on Zone A with a game in hand for both teams.

Gujarat Fortunegiants managed to reduce Jaipur Pink Panthers down to three men on the mat in the 6th minute itself after some early success by Sachin and K. Prapanjan. Sachin’s 2-point raid followed by  Sunil Kumar’s Ankle Hold on Ajit Singh soon brought on a Jaipur Pink Panthers All-Out as the visitors took a 10-4 lead in the match.

The defensive units of both teams then came to the fore as K. Prapanjan was sent to the bench twice in quick succession by the Jaipur Pink Panthers defence and Selvamani was picked up by Gujarat Fortunegiants’ as the scores stood at 12-6. Ajinkya Pawar finally broke the shackles and scored a raid point for his side as the next two minutes saw the game slow down before Sachin’s successful raid. With Sachin on the bench in the final five minutes of the half, it was Prapanjan who took on raiding responsibilities as he took Gujarat Fortunegiants 9-points clear of the home side before Sunil Siddhgavali’s 2-point raid ended the half on a positive note for Jaipur Pink Panthers. Gujarat Fortunegiants still enjoyed a 17-10 lead at halftime.

Sachin and Prapanjan took the same raiding momentum into the second half and helped Gujarat Fortunegiants inflict another early All-Out in that half as well. Sachin’s successful raid once Jaipur Pink Panthers reassembled opened up a 13-point lead for the visitors as they looked firmly in control of the match.

But Jaipur Pink Panthers then hit their stride and reduced the deficit down to just two points in the following six minutes led by Ajinkya Pawar’s tidy raiding which included a Super Raid in the 8th minute. The raider put in three back-to-back successful raids in this period and was helped by a strong tackle to send Prapanjan to the bench as there was nothing to choose from between the two teams midway through the second half.

However, once the Gujarat Fortunegiants defence managed to pick up Pawar, Sachin and Prapanjan went about their business yet again to keep the visitors ahead by four points with three minutes still left to play.

Pawar was revived in this period, though, and he went about reducing the deficit to just one point riding on three successful raids in the span of two minutes. Rohit Gulia went in for the last raid with the Jaipur Pink Panthers defence playing a high line and managed to escape an Ankle Hold attempt, giving his side a 33-31 win.

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