Haryana Steelers defeated defending champions Bengal Warriors 41-37 in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Friday.Bengal took the lead in the initial stages with an all-out, but young sensation Meetu inspired a comeback for the Steelers with a Super 10. Maninder Singh scored 14 points for the Warriors, but the lack of a quality support raider proved costly against an in-form Haryana defence.Whoever thought that match was going to be about top raiders were in for a rude surprise. The initial minutes saw both teams trading blows for blows. The defensive duo of Jaideep and Surender Nada was in red-hot form for Haryana while Sachin Vittala and Abozar Mighani dominated the corners for Bengal.Maninder Singh was tackled successfully twice in his first two attempts and his teammate Mohammad Nabibakhsh had no success either.
But the Warriors showed why they are the defending champions by inducing mistakes in the Haryana defence after the initial blitzkrieg. Maninder was not someone who would take the ego-battering tackles lightly, and he inspired a strong performance to clinch the game's first all-out with seven minutes for the interval.The six-point'lead didn't last long though with Vikash Kandola and Meetu ensuring the Haryana Steelers ended the first half positively. The scores were 18-15 to Bengal at the interval but with one player on the mat, the Warriors were staring at an all-out.Haryana secured that all out in the very first move of the half to level the scores. Young Meetu dished out multiple running kicks to quickly reduce the Warriors on the mat as Haryana dominated the early minutes. Mohammad Nabibakhsh ensured Warriors delayed another all-out with two solid tackles, but the Steelers eventually clinched it with seven minutes remaining.Bengal desperately missed a quality secondary raider while Haryana's Vikash Kandola offered the required support for Meetu. Maninder Singh secured his Super 10 with five minutes to be played as Bengal kept chasing the Steelers, but the Warriors struggled to stop Vikash Kandola in the final minutes as Haryana clinched a crucial 4-point win.