The inter-zone match between Gujarat and Patna was more to test their skills against each other. It is highly likely they might face again in the last leg of the tournament this season. Gujarat was so dominant that they could do no wrong right from the word go.
Sachin was instrumental in pushing them for the lead and Mahendra Rajput took over the finish line in the end with score 33-29.
Dominant First Half by Gujarat
It all started with Sachin getting off the mark for Gujarat with the very first raid. There were concrete plans to go after the opposition captain Pardeep Narwal of Patna Pirates. They literally stalled him in every ride which helped them go a long way to have a lead with scoreline 18-12 in 1st half. The other contributors were Chandran Ranjit and Rohit Gulia for Gujarat.
Monu Goyat was solely instrumental in keeping Patna in the hunt most of the 1st half. The other impressive man from their team was Vijay, the defender. He was so good especially while tackling Chandran and Sachin getting crucial points for Patna. Nevertheless, with all the efforts of Monu and Vijay, Gujarat was still leading at 18-12 at 1st half end.
Pardeep Narwal – Tamed by Gujarat
It was a clear plan to attack Pardeep Narwal which gave them a huge advantage in taming the Pirates. Except for a point, Pardeep wasn’t allowed to score in the entire 1st half, which says a lot about Gujarat’s defence. The coach of Patna even openly acknowledged the fact and was impressed by the defence of Gujarat Fortunegiants.
One of the sights to behold in the entire match was, when Fazel tackled Pardeep and eventually threw him at a crucial juncture. At that very moment, both Pardeep’s spirit and Patna’s spirit was broken and that seized the match in Gujarat favour.
Pardeep had a disappointing and a perplexed look on his face, until he scored a point finally in 2nd half much to the relief of his teammates. Every dog has his day and today was rightly Gujarat’s and they really tamed Pardeep Narwal. Pardeep was visibly hurt and fuming inside that he could not contribute to the team to get across the line.
Mahendra Rajput – The real Super-Sub
He is a surprise commodity yesterday especially after seen the prowess of known faces like Sachin and Chandran in 1st half. He came into the 2nd half, with a bag full of confidence, knowing the fact that his team is in front. The way he raided using his reach with his long hands and legs was so skillful and efficient. He had scored 6 points out of his total nine attempted raids, the best strike rate in the match. The best part of his game was when he had an all out against Patna and successfully reviewed it. He put them in front and an handsome lead from 21-17 to 24-17 that sealed it in 2nd half. At the very last raids, he was simply playing for the clock to make sure Gujarat doesn’t give away points to Patna Pirates.
Patna Pirates – Needs to Improve
The pirates as they are, couldn’t steal points from their raids against the defence of the Iranians in Gujarat colours.
Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani, along with Sunil Kumar from India, were solid as blocks with star raiders like Pardeep Narwal and Monu Goyat were raiding in their territory. Pardeep needs to play smartly to counter these strong defenders in future games else they don’t stand a chance in the future games. Their raids need to be more calculative and clinical in order for them to go deeper into the tournament. Vijay was one bright spot, the way he defended, was simply awesome that augurs well for Patna in defence. Could we see an untamed Pardeep Narwal in the games to come?