Pro Kabaddi League

Giants clinch thriller, Bengal edge past Bulls in PKL Season 8

Shaunak GhoshShaunak Ghosh
January 20 2022
(Courtesy : Pro Kabaddi)

The defending champions jumped to fourth in the league table.

Gujarat Giants beat Tamil Thalaivas 37-35 in arguably the most fiercely contested match of vivo Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8. Multiple tackles and an ALL OUT in the dying minutes ensured a great night of kabaddi at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, Bengaluru. Coach Manpreet Singh’s Gujarat showed a lot of grit despite trailing by 6 points in the closing minutes to secure an incredible comeback win. Their captain Sunil Kumar scored a High 5 while raider Mahendra Rajput picked 9 points including one from the last raid of the match.

Gujarat started the PKL match positively with their raiders Rakesh S and Rakesh Narwal looking good. They helped the team open a 5-point lead in the early minutes as the Tamil defenders struggled to find their usual rhythm. But just when the Giants sensed an ALL OUT, Tamil raider Ajinkya Pawar produced a stunning Super Tackle to temporarily shift the balance of play. 

The Thalaivas took the lead but the Gujarat defence, marshalled by their calm covers Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar, ensured the momentum remained with them. Mahendra Rajput’s 2-point raid took out Thalaivas’ Sagar and Surjeet Singh in one move and that helped Gujarat clinch an ALL OUT with under 3 minutes remaining for half time. The teams changed sides with scores 17-14 in Gujarat’s favour.

The early minutes of the second half were played with high intensity with both teams looking clinical. Thalaivas’ Ajinkya Pawar raced to 9 raid points in the first 10 minutes while the raiding trio of Rakesh, Rakesh Narwal and Mahendra Rajput found errors in the Tamil defence.  

Thalaivas stayed within touching distance of the Giants with their raider Manjeet leading the way.  Coach Uday Kumar wanted his Tamil team to inflict an ALL OUT in the final minutes to give Gujarat and take the lead. His team delivered exactly that with a stunning tackle by Sagar and a 2-point raid by Manjeet. Thalaivas took a 3-point lead with an ALL OUT with 4 minutes remaining as Manjeet and Ajinkya Pawar clinched Super 10s.

The Giants got back into the match when substitute Pradeep Kumar clinched a stunning 3-point Super Raid with just a minute to go. Gujarat got an ALL OUT to take a 1-point lead, but Mohit made the scores level again with a tackle on Mahendra Rajput. But Sunil’s stunning tackle on Manjeet followed by a successful raid by Mahendra Rajput got the Giants a crucial PKL win.

Warriors trump high flying Bulls

Defending champions Bengal Warriors beat Bengaluru Bulls 40-39 in Match 67 of vivo PKL Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, Bengaluru. The Bulls dominated most parts of the match with captain Pawan Sehrawat scoring a Super 10 but an 8-point raid by Bengal, thanks to defenders following the raider into the lobby without a touch, helped the Warriors shift the balance of play and eventually clinch the match. Bengal’s Maninder Singh scored 9 points, but they will have to thank their lucky stars for enabling a strange yet exciting comeback win.

The teams matched each other blow for blow in an intense first half that saw star raiders Maninder Singh and Pawan Sehrawat spend a lot of time in the dugout. Both defences were in the groove with all 4 in the Bengal team scoring points in the half. At the other end, Bulls’ Saurabh Nandal and Mahender Singh ensured there were no easy points in the offering for the Warriors. The teams failed to inflict an ALL OUT in the first half that finished 14-13 with Bengal in the lead in the PKL encounter.

Bengal couldn’t contain “High Flyer” Pawan Sehrawat as he went berserk in the early minutes of the first half. He helped the Bulls clinch an ALL OUT in the 4th minute to open a 3-point lead. The raider continued his good work as he got his Super 10 and reduced Bengal to just 1 man on the mat. The Bulls thought they secured their second ALL OUT when Mohammad Nabibakhsh was tackled by the entire team. Unfortunately for them, the Iranian had entered the lobby without a touch, thereby making everyone who followed him out-of-bounds. The move resulted in a massive change of momentum as Bengal got 7 points + 1 for the bonus. Chandran Ranjit was the only raider remaining and Abozar Mighani tackled him in the 10th minute to give Bengal an ALL OUT and open a 3-point lead in the PKL encounter.

Maninder Singh picked up crucial bonus points to ensure Bengal maintained a sizeable lead as the game entered the final minutes. The Bengal defenders kept calm and managed the time perfectly to ensure they won the match by a solitary point. The result helped Bengal jump to fourth in the PKL points table.

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