Right then, that brings us to the end of today's blog. You can read the match report here . Thanks for tuning in!
The seventh season of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 2019) will begin on July 20 with Telugu Titans taking on U Mumba. Until then, you can follow our entire PKL coverage, complete with season previews, squads, interviews and analysis here - FULL PKL 2019 COVERAGE
Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh was roped in for a whopping Rs. 77.5 lakhs at the auction this year by Bengal Warriors and became this season's most expensive foreign buy . And he proved just why he was worth the tag as his stunning Super Raid right at the end - with less than a minute on the clock - got Indian 7 All Out and earned World 7 four crucial points, and the match.
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And along with him, Patna Pirates' Jang Kun Lee also lit up the mat with a marvellous overall effort. He spearheaded World 7's raiding unit contributed with defence too, and in fact made the crucial last-ditch tackle that prevented Pawan Sehrawat from snatching a point in his side's last raid of the game.
One Indian, despite ending on the losing side, will be particularly happy with Lee's performance - Pardeep Narwal. Pardeep and Lee will head Patna Pirates' raiding this season, and based on today's performance, it's safe t say that Lee is in blistering form.
40' World 7 makes a mind-blowing comeback to snatch the game away from the Indian 7 right at the very death. The Fazel Atrachali-led World 7 wins the tie 33-31.
40' That has to be the game! Lee yanks Pawan away by the ankle and earns World 7 another point. World 7 now leads 33-31 with less than 20 seconds to go!
39' WHAT A TURNAROUND! Nabibakhsh completely turns the tie around as he inflicts an All Out! He gets a touch on both Girish and Nitesh to win four points! World 7 now leads!
38' Oh boy, this is turning out to be nerve-wrecking contest! Nabibakhsh gets a point off Pahal and the two sides are once again separated by a mere point. An intense two minutes await us. Indian 7 leads 29 to 28.
37' The Hawk strikes! Ravinder Pahal gets a fantastic Super Tackle and earns his side two invaluable points. Indian 7 leads 29-26 and we're down to the last three minutes.
36' It's a one point game! Nabibakhsh makes an exquisite tackle to block Deepak Hooda and there's only one point separating the two sides at 27-26.
35' World 7 has scored five points in the last five minutes, as compared to the two the Indian 7 has managed!
34' Pardeep Narwal is still on the bench. What's going on through coach Balwan Singh's mind? Is he saving the Dubki King for the oh-so-important last two minutes? Indian 7 leads 27 to 24.
33' That is a very, very crucial tackle. Fazel and Lee combine well to lock down Pawan. Replays suggest that Fazel tugged at Pawan's jersey, but Indian 7 has no reviews left and will have to let it go. It's two points for World 7 and the side now trails by 3 points.
31' It's a do-or-die raid, but Farhad is offered no space by the Indian defenders. He's taken to the mat and that brings Ajay off the bench! Indian 7 leads 27-19.
30' We're down to the final 10 minutes and Indian 7 leads 25-20. It's only a five-point game and we're perfectly set for a nail-biting finish!
28' Pawan is putting up a top performance here, like always. He realises his side needs him on the mat and restrains from making any rash tackles. Extremely mature show from him.
26' Uh oh, he's not going to be happy with that. Nabibakhsh walks into the corridor without getting a touch on a defender and gifts Indian 7 an easy point. And more importantly, World 7 will now be down to 4 players. Indian 7 leads 24-19.
25' Lee does it again! Time and time again Lee has proved himself and he does it again as he gains two crucial points and sends Ajay back to the bench. He's got eight points to his name and is closing in on a Super 10!
24' With Pawan on the bench, Ajay becomes the main raider and he delivers! The captain does phenomenally well to claim two points and Indian 7 now has a six point lead at 23-17! Ajay thinks he's got three points, but the ref thinks otherwise.
22' What is Fazel made of? The Iranian takes out Pawan all by himself! He waits until the last second to leap in and blocks Pawan with a magnificent tackle. Indian 7 leads 20-17.
21' Jang Kun Lee is at it again! He gets his sixth point of the game to begin the second half on a strong note.
Here's a breakdown of how two teams scored their points:
Indian 7 - 13 raid points, 4 tackle points, 2 All Out points and 1 bonus.
World 7: 11 raid points and 3 tackle points.
20' That's the end of the first half and it ends 20-14 in favour of Indian 7.
19' A big mistake for World 7. The side loses its only review and Pawan wins a bonus point.
18' Phew, what a tackle! Fazel simply throws himself at the towering Maninder and has the raider flat out on the mat. That has to be the best tackle of the game thus far by a mile! Indian 7 continues to remain ahead at 18-14.
17' Deepak Hooda joins the party! Lee has been an absolute menace so far and Deepak does so very well to catch him by the thigh and pull him back. Indian 7 leads 18-13.
15' A rare error from Girish. He races towards Nabibakhsh, with little chance of getting in a tackle, and ends up conceding a rather silly point. Indian 7 leads 16-13.
14' Maninder twists and turns and gets Farhad to commit to the tackle and pockets an easy raid point. Indian 7 now has a five point lead at 16-11.
11' ALL OUT! After a stunning Super Raid, Pawan takes out Fazel and Nabibakhsh to claim the first All out of the match! That's four points in the bag and Indian 7 leads 14-9.
9' SUPER RAID! Pawan shows us exactly why he was named the MVP last season. He claims a stunning Super Raid to hand Indian 7 a three point lead. India leads 9-6.
8' Jang Kun Lee, Pro Kabaddi League's most successful foreign raider with 411 points, gets a touch on Nitesh and bags the bonus point to restore parity once again. The scorecard reads 6-6.
6' The Indians take the lead - Pawan gets a bonus point and follows it up with a fantastic block on the right corner to put India 5-4 ahead.
5' Nabibakhsh gets his first PKL point! He manages to clip Maninder's foot and gives his side another point. World 7 leads 3-2.
4' First point on the board for India 7! It's a do-or-die raid and Nitesh Kumar gets the point with a terrific thigh hold.
2' Pawan taken out too! The league's most expensive foreign signing of the season, Nabibakhsh, does extremely well to take Pawan to the ground. World 7 leads 2-0.
1' Ajay Thakur with the first raid of the evening, but he runs straight into Fazel and the Iranian has the last laugh.
7:30pm: LET'S KABADDI!
7:29: So the Indian 7 has three raiders in Ajay, Pawan and Maninder, while Deepak will be the side's all-rounder. Nitesh, Surjeet and Girish will handle the defensive duties.
7:27pm: Here's the Indian 7 - Ajay Thakur, Pawan Kumar Sehrawat, Maninder Singh, Deepak Hooda, Nitesh Kumar, Sujreet Singh, Girish Ernak.
7:26pm: Here's the starting team for the World 7 - Fazel Atrachali, Jang Kun Lee, Dong Gyu Kim, Mohammad Nabibakhsh, Abozar Mighani, Farhad Milaghardhan and Saeid Ghaffari.
7:25 pm: Alright then, we're now minutes way from the first raid. The Indian 7 team has the best of raiders in the league, while the World 7 side has a terrific defending unit. It is going to be a classic attack versus defence contest and promises to be one helluva game!
7:15 pm: So season seven of Pro Kabaddi League will see two former Indian kabaddi stars debut as coaches. Rakesh Kumar won the World Cup in 2004 and 2007 and will coach Haryana Steelers, while Anup Kumar, who captained the country to the title in 2016, will be at the helm of Puneri Paltan. Full story here - PKL 2019: World Cup winners Rakesh, Anup excited to start coaching careers
7:10 pm: Who were the other top buys at the auctions you ask? We go you covered - PKL Auction 2019: Top five buys
7:05 pm: Siddharth Desai won't be playing tonight, but the raider will be eager to make a strong comeback to the league after recovering from a shoulder surgery. We hear the raider has spent countless hours in the gym and looks absolutely ripped! But guess what he said right after he was signed by Telugu Titans for Rs 1.45 crore at the auctions? "I'm ready to dance!" More on that here - Siddharth Desai 'ready to dance' after becoming costliest buy
7:00 pm: Alright then, we're now all of 30 minutes away from the first ever Pro Kabddi League All Stars clash! What are your predictions?
6:55 pm: Speaking of Pawan, he was in mesmerising form last season. With a 282 points last season, the most in the league, he led Bengaluru Bulls to a maiden title by scoring a mammoth 22 points in the final. Here's a recap of how the season 6 final went down - MVP Pawan Sehrawat leads Bengaluru Bulls to maiden PKL title
6:50 pm: Alright, here's the third most important face-off of the tie: Fazel and Abozar vs Ajay Thakur and Pawan Kumar Sehrawat. The two Iranians were a part of Gujarat FortuneGiants in season 5 and formed one of the most impressive defensive combinations in PKL history. The two went different ways last season, but will share the mat today and will go up against the potent raiding duo of Ajay and Pawan. Ajay is relentless with his raids and rarely returns empty handed, while Pawan, well, he's an absolute beast who can bulldoze his way through any defence there is.
6:45 pm: The Gachibowli Stadium will be all decked up once again when the seventh season of the Pro Kabaddi League begins here on July 20. The home side Telugu Titans, which features the magnificent Siddharth Desai, will take on season 2 champion U Mumba in the opener. Here's the full schedule - PKL season 7 schedule: Venues, dates, matches, times
6:40 pm: Another intriguing clash today will be between PKL's all-time highest raid point scorer, Pardeep Narwal, and South Korea's nimble-footed star, Jang Kun Lee. The two will in fact, for the first time, team up to represent the Patna Pirates this season. The two have been training together over the last month and it'll be fun to see if Lee has picked up the Dubki from the Dubki King himself.
6:35 pm: Are you wondering which team your favourite player represents? Worry no more for we have full squads of all 12 teams compiled right here - PKL 2019: All the final squads for the upcoming season
6:30 pm: So we're an hour out to the game, and we're bound to have some very interesting rivalries to look out for. Let's take Nitesh Kumar vs Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh for starters. UP Yoddha's Nitesh, a product of the Future Kabaddi Heroes programme, was the standout performer last season and became the first defender to score 100 points in a single season. An ankle-hold expert, it will be interesting to see how he handles Nabibakhsh, who will be playing his first PKL game today.
The Indian 7 is studded with stars including the likes of national captain Ajay Thakur of Tamil Thalaivas, Bengaluru Bulls' MVP Pawan Kumar Sehrawat, and Patna Pirates' Dubki King Pardeep Narwal.
Here's what Ajay Thakur said ahead of the game: “This All-Star match is a preview to the toughest season starting within a week and the game is going to be a great experience for all players involved, as it is one-of-a-kind. Team Indian 7 is prepared and we are looking forward to clashing with the best of international talent. As the captain of the team, I want the players to enjoy the game and give their best shot at winning it.”
The World 7, on the other hand, will feature the likes of the this edition's most expensive foreigner Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh of Bengal Warriors, Telugu Titans' right corner specialist Abozar Mighani, Iranian MVP and U Mumba's star Fazel Atrachalli, and Patna Pirates' explosive South Korean raider Jang Kun Lee.
Here's the entire line-up for the two teams:
Indian 7: Ajay Thakur (captain), Pardeep Narwal, Pawan Kumar Sehrawat, Girish Ernak, Nitesh Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Maninder Singh, Sandeep Narwal, Surjeet, Sunil Kumar, Vikash Khandola and Ravinder Pahal.
Coach: Balwan Singh
World 7: Fazel Atrachali (captain), Abozar Mighani, Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, Jang Kun Lee, Tin Phonchoo, Mohammed Shazid Hossain, Emad Sedaghat Nia, Dong Gyu Kim, Farhad Rahimi, Masud Karim, Saeed Ghaffari and Lal Mohar Yadav.
Coach: E. P. Rao
The game will be telecast on Star Sports Network and will be streamed live on Hotstar.
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