National champions Maharashtra maintained their unbeaten record in group stage of the Federation Cup Kabaddi tournament with a 32-24 victory over the formidable Haryana in Mumbai on Sunday.
The last league encounter of men’s Group A was more about bragging rights as both the teams had already booked their semi-final berths by winning their last two encounters and the hosts once again showed their prowess with a domineering performance.
Vishal Mane opened Maharashtra’s account by catching the Haryana raider in the very first raid and the hosts did not look back. They registered their first all-out in the 16th minute and took a 20-10 lead at half time.
Haryana did fight back after the break but the strong defensive unit of Mane (6 points), Krishna Madne and Viraj Landge ensured that there were no hiccups. Tushar Patil was the star raider for the national champions, bagging 11 points from 17 raids while Nilesh Salunkhe chipped in with seven points.
In the semi-finals, Maharashtra will now take on Karnataka while Haryana will face Services in what is a repeat of the last four line-up at the senior national championships.
Services and Karnataka edged out Indian Railways in a close three-way tussle in Group B on point difference after each team finished the group phase on six points in their tally. It was however, their margins of victory against group's whipping boys Uttarakhand that determined the semi-final entrants from that group.
While the men were in rampaging form, Maharashtra women failed to raise the bar and were knocked out in group stage after losing to Indian Railways 47-24.
Having lost to Haryana in their second match, Maharashtra needed a victory over Railways but their challenge fizzled out in the first half itself when they were all-out twice, and trailed 12-26 at half time.
Railways will now take on Punjab for a spot in the final after the latter rode on Randeep Kaur’s all-round performance to beat Chhattisgarh 34-28. Kaur earned 18 points for the winners from 23 raids and even accounted for three Chhattisgarh raiders while defending.
The other semi-final will see Haryana, who hammered Kerala 38-13, take on national champions Himachal Pradesh who have carried their rampant form from the senior nationals, winning all three of their league phase with three handsome victories.
Men: Maharashtra vs Karnataka; Services vs Haryana
Women: Indian Railways vs Punjab; Haryana vs Himachal Pradesh
The semi-final action starts at 5 PM IST on Monday and can be watched Live here.
Updated Date: Feb 12, 2018 15:26 PM