Meetu Mhahender and Rohit Gulia’s heroics eke Haryana Steelers to a 39-37 win over Telugu Titans

Meetu Mhahender bags a touchpoint while raiding for Haryana Steelers against Telugu Titans

Haryana Steelers picked up their first win of PKL Season 8 by edging Telugu Titans 39-37 in a bottom-of-the-table clash. 

Meetu Mhahender and Rohit Gulia combined to give 20 raid points for their side while the defensive trio of Surender Nada, Mohit, and Ravi Kumar restricted the opposition players with their tackles.

Haryana Steelers scored the first point of the game after Rohit Gulia collected a bonus for his side. His other compatriots took the same approach while raiding as the defenders tackled the opposition players to give Steelers a quick three-point lead. However, Titans’ defenders notched their level up as well and leveled the proceedings at 5-5.

Siddharth Desai stepped up in Titans’ Do-or-Die Raid but Ravi Kumar initiated an ankle hold after the former attempted a high kick to earn a Super Tackle for his side. The scoreline read 7-6 at that moment and Meetu further increased the lead to three points after ducking past two defenders and crossing the mid-line. Titans thought they had clawed their way back into the game after Sandeep Kandola gripped Meetu with an ankle hold but the former had already stepped out of bounds.

The Steelers maintained their lead courtesy of Meetu’s ability to pick up touchpoints while surging forward and his knack of pressurizing defenders out of bounds. They finally inflicted the first All Out of the game after Surender Nada clutched Siddharth Desai with a clenching back hold as the scoreline read 16-11.

Rohit Gulia and ‘Bahubali’ Siddharth Desai exchanged points for Steelers and Titans respectively but the latter injured his shoulders while raiding and couldn’t continue as the halftime score read 23-19.

Haryana Steelers defenders tackle a Telugu Titans raider in their PKL 8 game on Tuesday

The Steelers began the second half by ushering Rakesh Gowda out of bounds and continued building on the momentum as Meetu clawed back with a dubki to get two touch points in his Do-or-Die raid. With Titans down to only one man, the Steelers allowed Ankit Beniwal to pick up the bonus as Surender Nada’s signature back hold enforced the second All-Out on them and extended the margin to 11 points.

Ankit tried to mount a comeback for the Titans after amassing a Super Raid that saw him pick a bonus while crawling backward alongside getting the touches of Ravi Kumar and Rohit Gulia. And, Rohit’s failure to get any touch in his Do-or-Die raid with only three defenders on the opposing ends further brightened the Titans’ hopes.

Ankit kept on stocking bonus points from one end and Akash Choudhary tackled the danger man Meetu to make the scoreline read 38-34 with only two minutes of play left. Ravi’s ankle holds on Ankit earned the Steelers one more point while Adarsh returned with two touch points on two raids as the deficit got narrowed to three.

Rohit stepped up to the buzzer Do-or-Die raid and wasted the majority of his time near the midline before attempting a bonus in the dying embers of the contest. Although he got tackled in the end, his shrewd tactic ensured Haryana won the tie 39-37.

Looking back into the game, Titans will realize that they focussed too much on bonus points while concentrating less on the touches while raiding. Out of their 26 raid points, only 10 were touchpoints while Steelers had only five of their 21 raid points as bonuses.

Haryana Steelers got the monkey out of their back by ending their winless run in PKL Season 8 and would like to build on that momentum when they take on Bengaluru Bulls on Thursday.

Telugu Titans, on the other hand, remain one of the only two teams in the competition without a single victory to their name. Their next encounter is also against the Bulls, however, that will take place on Saturday.