Harish Naik fights in vain as Bulls fall to Bengal Warriors
Bengal Warriors survived a last-minute scare to trump Bengaluru Bulls 33-29 at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi on Saturday. Maninder Singh’s super raid made the difference for the Warriors in the closing minutes after their defence was taken down by a charged-up Harish Naik. Naik was the highest scorer for the Bulls with 11 points and Maninder top-scored for the Warriors with 9 points. Bengal raced to an early 5-1 lead in the 5th minute itself on the back of some strong defending. Captain Surjeet Singh was well supported by Shrikant Tewthia and Ran Singh in defence and the Bengal outfit inflicted the first All-Out of the evening on Bengaluru Bulls just four minutes later as they increased their lead to 12-4. Youngster Naik took charge in attack after Bulls captain Rohit Kumar looked tentative. He and star defender Ravinder Pahal were the only bright sparks for the Bulls in the first half as their raiders kept being taken down by the formidable Bengal defence. At half-time, the Warriors held on to their early 8-point lead as the score read 18-10 in their favour. The Bengaluru defence looked inspired in the second half but their raiders failed to back up their effort. They were not able to capitalise on an All-Out opportunity presented to them early in the second half and let the Bengal side get away easily. The Warriors took full advantage of this and kept the pressure on to take a 24-15 lead with 10 minutes left in the contest. Surjeet reached a High 5 with a strong tackle on his counterpart Rohit as the Bulls kept running out of options. Naik, though, kept pegging away and getting points to keep Bengaluru Bulls in the hunt. Pahal also reached his first High 5 of the season and helped inflict an All-Out on the Bengal team as the Bulls narrowed the gap to 26-24. The point difference was down to 1 when Maninder from the Warriors pulled off a stunning super raid and tilted the game in their favour with a 32-29 lead.