Services snatched a pulsating ‘golden raid’ victory over Karnataka to advance to the semifinals of the 60th senior National kabaddi championships (Super League) at the Sir MV stadium here on Saturday.
The scores were level 30-30 in regular time, and when even the tie-breaker (five raids each) that followed failed to split the sides, the contest was decided by a ‘golden raid’. Karnataka won the toss, but Prashanth Rai was caught on his raid, leaving Services up 36-35.
Earlier, both teams started cautiously, Services narrowly leading 12-10 at half-time. Raiders Surjeet Singh and Suraj Desai took off thereafter to peg the home side back.
When the latter managed three Karnataka victims to give his side a 30-24 lead, with four minutes left, it seemed all over.
Prashanth and B.S. Shabeer — easily the host’s best player on the night — fought back, however, dragging their side back into contention with two fine raids.
With only a few seconds left on the clock, Shabeer levelled scores with a final desperate raid, only just scrambling over the line, to force a tie-breaker. The large home crowd exulted; but the euphoria was short-lived.
The results: Men: Quarterfinals: Services bt Karnataka 36-35 (after golden raid); UP bt J&K 30-19; Rajasthan bt Haryana 26-25 (via tie-breaker); Railways bt Tamil Nadu 25-24 (via golden raid). League phase: Pool A: Railways bt UP 33-28, Maharashtra bt Hyderabad 28-25; Pool B: Rajasthan drew with Karnataka 30-30, Delhi bt Bihar 16-8; Pool C: Services bt Vidarbha 65-35; Pool D: Tamil Nadu bt Odisha 22-15. Women: Quarterfinals: Railways bt UP 42-12; HP bt AP 32-19; Maharashtra bt Delhi 23-17; Haryana bt Odisha 36-11. — Sports Reporter