Maninder roars to take Bengal over the line against Jaipur
Maninder Singh’s absolute brilliance ensured Bengal Warriors edged Jaipur Pink Panthers to win an action-packed contest 32-31 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium on Sunday. Pawan Kumar (13 points) and Tushar Patil’s (6 points) contributions were completely overshadowed by Maninder’s match-high 16-point performance. Kumar started the proceedings by striking gold in his first two raid attempts to give Jaipur a lead before falling to a reckless tackle attempt on Maninder. A series of do-or-die raids ensued with the Warriors defence displaying the right amount of aggression. However, Patil’s super raid in the 9th minute ensured Jaipur led 6-5 at the end of the first quarter. Jaipur picked up their first tackle point in the 11th minute and switched on their defensive mode by enforcing do-or-die raids on the Warriors to put pressure on their star raiders. This worked in their favour even though the Warriors came back strongly at regular intervals. The first half eventually came to an end with Maninder’s two-point raid as the Warriors entered the breather trailing 11-12. Jaipur started the second half dominantly through Patil whose back-to-back successful raids led to the Warriors’ first All-Out of the match in the 23rd minute. After Jaipur took a five-point lead, the Warriors picked up the pace with Maninder taking the lead. His double two-point raids in quick succession ensured only 2 points separated the two sides as they entered the last 10 minutes. He also picked up his seventh Super 10 of the season in the process. Maninder continued his onslaught on Jaipur’s defence, who kept committing silly mistakes under pressure. He reduced Jaipur to a lone man on the mat but Kumar managed to keep his team afloat until they eventually succumbed to their first All-Out in the 38th minute to tie the scores. However, the main action of the match was reserved for the last two raids of the match. While the Warriors snatched up Patil, Jaipur successfully tackled Maninder.