Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of the Pro Kabaddi League. This is Nihit Sachdeva and I will be taking you through today's PKL 8 match between Gujarat Giants and Bengaluru Bulls.

That brings us to the end of our Pro Kabaddi League coverage for the day. We will be back on Wednesday with the semifinals. See you then!

Before you leave, do take some time to vote for your favourite athletes/teams in the 2022 Sportstar Aces Awards. CLICK HERE TO VOTE

Meanwhile, you can also check out our Kings of Kabaddi series from PKL 7  - a happier time pre-COVID when we got to physically sit down with some of the biggest names in the league and hear their stories. You can check out all episodes here:

 


Summary:
A collective performance led by star raider Pawan Sehrawat helped Bengaluru Bulls thrash Gujarat Giants 49-29 in the second eliminator match. Pawan Sehrawat scored 13 points while Mahender clinched a High 5 from the cover position. The Bulls outplayed Gujarat in every department with secondary raiders Bharat and Chandran Ranjit also contributing to the points. Gujarat lacked the usual focus in the defence and conceded an early lead which it found difficult to chase.

FULL-TIME: Bengaluru Bulls beats Gujarat Giants 49-29 and will next face Dabang Delhi K.C. in the second semifinal on February 23.

29-49: Final raid of the match, a do-or-die one for Bulls, Bharat Naresh goes in and perhaps in the attempt to avoid an injury, runs down the clock and accepts the self-out.

28-49: My word!!! A back hold of the highest quality by Aman and he lifts Ajay Kumar before others come in for the assist.

28-48: ALL OUT!!! Parvesh Bhainswal surrenders in front of Pawan.

28-45: Do-or-die raid for Bulls, Pawan goes in and this time he delivers as Hadi's dash does not do enough to push the raider off the mat. As it turns out, Pawan got a touch on Girish as well and Giants are down to one.

 

Final strategic time-out. Five minutes to go. Unless one of the Giants raiders does what Mohammed Nabibakhsh did in the league stage against the Bulls, this match looks done.

28-43: However, the Bulls can afford their raiders to fail since the defence is on a roll. Poor Rakesh HS walks back to the bench after the entire Bengaluru defence piles up on him.

28-42: SUPER TACKLE!!! Three on the mat for Giants but Parvesh comes up with a clutch ankle hold to tackle Pawan all on his own.

26-41: Do-or-die raid for Bulls, Bharat Naresh goes in, is made to wait before he goes for the running hand touch on Girish. Girish retreats, Bharat goes into the lobbies without a touch, Sunil does not realises that and goes for the block. One point each.

25-40: Ajay Kumar does not have the speed to put the pressure on a defence. Saurabh Nandal realises that and comes up with the double ankle hold to bring him down.

25-39: Rakesh in for the raid and Pawan Sehrawat comes up with an aggressive tackle sending him tumbling to the back of the mat. Giants have lost their review saying that a defender had stepped out of bounds before the tackle happened.
First strategic time out. Ten minutes to go and a mountain to climb for the Giants.

25-38: Mahender, who has a High 5 tonight, comes way too ahead for the double ankle hold and Rakesh makes it to the mid-line comfortably. Giants use the review and get the bonus too.

23-38: Bharat Naresh tries for the touch on right corner with a back kick, misses it and enters the lobbies for self-out. Parvesh who followed him into the lobbies too has been sent to the bench.

22-37: The Bulls are not going to let this slip. Saurabh Nandal with the initial tackle and Pardeep Kumar has been brought down.

22-36: Mahender and Mayur team up for the dash and the result is that Rakesh HS finds himself off the mat.

22-35: Finally, some success for Parvesh as he puts in a strong back hold to take down Ranjith.

21-35: ALL OUT!!! Hadi picks up the bonus but the left corner then latches onto his ankle and he is flat on the mat.

20-32: SUPER 10 FOR PAWAN SEHRAWAT! The Bulls skipper picks up a touch point off Parvesh and reduced Giants to one.

20-31: Mahendra Rajput picks up a bonus.

19-31: SUPER RAID!!! Bharat Naresh with a four-point raid may have just put this match beyond Giants' reach. Girish, Sunil, Rakesh, everyone was there to stop him but his backtracking and long reach helped him to reach the mid-line.

19-27: SUPER TACKLE!!! Mahender with another crucial block and he has managed to stop the beast that is Pardeep Kumar.

19-25: Sunil gets Pawan yet again. Pawan tried to avoid his block with a jump but Sunil somehow got hold of his ankle and the rest of the team came for the assist.

17-25: Girish's poor night continues as Bharat wins a touch point courtesy of a failed ankle hold from the left corner.

Pawan Sehrawat's Bengaluru Bulls has dominated Eliminator 2 right from the beginning. Pawan himself is one short of a Super 10 and has got much-needed support from Chandran Ranjith. For Giants, their raiders have tried their best to keep the team in the mat but the defenders have to pull their socks up.

HALF-TIME: Gujarat Giants 17-24 Bengaluru Bulls

17-24: SUPER TACKLE!!!! Mahender Singh lands a double ankle hold on a flying Rakesh HS with Jaideep coming in for the support. And that's it for first-half.

17-22: Do-or-die raid for Bulls, Ranjith goes in and returns claiming he has the bonus. The decision however goes against him. Bulls lose their review asking for the bonus.

15-22: Multi-point raid for super sub Pardeep Kumar as he escapes the ankle hold attempted by one defender and then picks another touch point off Aman who had already set off for the assist and therefore could not retreat in time.

13-22: Running hand touch for Pawan and Mohit is off. Coach Randhir Sehrawat finally smiles. Isn't that some good television?

11-21: Ranjith continues his point-scoring spree as Parvesh's dash proves insufficient in pushing him off the mat.

11-20: Aman on the left corner goes for the diving ankle hold on Rakesh and fails.

10-20: Ranjith picks up a bonus. Giants have lost their review challenging the decision.

10-19: ALL OUT!!! And there you have it. Pardeep Kumar, subbed in for the raid, picks the bonus but then the Bulls defence traps him quite comfortably.

9-16: One more for Bulls skipper as a helpless Hadi could not avoid stop him from touching him on the left corner.

8-15: Giants are down to two now as Pawan picks up a touch point off Parvesh Bhainswal.

8-14: Excellent block by Mahender Singh to tackle the mighty Mahendra Rajput.

8-12: Ranjith revives Pawan as he skillfully jumps over Sunil's block to reach the mid-line.

8-11: Ajay Kumar puts in the next raid and returns to the mid-line claiming a touch. Who did he get it off? It is Pawan Sehrawat.

7-11: Pawan Sehrawat goes in, picks the bonus and then Girish gifts him a touch point with a strange back hold.

7-9: Mahendra Rajput is not too far either. A bonus and touch point for him as well as right corner goes for his ankle but does not get the support.

5-9: A bonus and a touch point for Pawan as he gets Hadi on the right corner.

4-7: Girish goes for the advanced tackle on Ranjith who easily backtracks to the mid-line.

4-6: Do-or-die raid for Giants, Mahendra Rajput goes in and picks the mandatory point as Saurabh Nandal's ankle hold did not quite turn out as he would have wanted.

3-6: And now a touch point as well as Ranjith invites Hadi for the ankle hold who accepts it and dives for the raider's ankle which was a little too far in the first place.

3-5: Another bonus for Ranjith.

3-4: Saurabh Nandal in action as he initiates the tackle on Rakesh and gets the assist in time.

3-3: Skipper gets skipper. An excellent dash by Sunil sends Hi-Flyer Pawan flying off the mat after he had picked up a bonus.

2-2: Rakesh HS picks up a bonus.

1-2: Ranjith picks up a bonus.

1-1: Mahendra Rajput picks up a touch point with a back kick on Bharat.

0-1: First raid for Bulls, Pawan Sherawat comes in and returns pointless.

0-1: Ajay Kumar goes in for the opening raid and left corner Aman is onto his ankle in a flash.

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TOSS - Bengaluru Bulls wins the toss and selects left side of the court. Gujarat Giants to raid first.

LINE-UPS!!!!

Gujarat Giants: Ajay Kumar, Sunil Kumar (c), Parvesh Bhainswal, Rakesh HS, Mahendra Rajput, Hadi Oshtorak, Girish Ernak

Subs: Rakesh Narwal, Ankit, Soleiman Pahlevani, Maninder Singh, Pardeep Kumar

Bengaluru Bulls: Pawan Sehrawat (c), Mayur Kadam, Saurabh Nandal, Mahender Singh, Bharat Naresh, Chandran Ranjith, Aman

Subs: Mohit Sehrawat, Dong Geon Lee, Abolfazel Maghsodlo, Jaideep, GB More

8:40PM: Pardeep Narwal's 18-point haul has helped UP Yoddha beat Puneri Paltan 42-31 to make it to the semifinal. Pardeep will meet his former side Patna Pirates in that semifinal. Oh the drama!  Highlights: Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Eliminator 1 Highlights: Pardeep's Super 10 helps UP Yoddha beat Puneri Paltan 42-31

8:20pm: Head-to-head stats: Matches played - 8, Matches won by Gujarat Giants - 4, Matches won by Bengaluru Bulls - 3, Tied matches - 1, This season:Their first meeting this season finished in a 46-37 win for the Bulls, while the second saw Gujarat record a 40-36 win.

8:10pm: Captain's corner

Gujarat Giants captain Sunil Kumar : “This has been a memorable season for us so far and we are determined to give our best on the mat in the upcoming matches. We will continue to play as a team and focus on our strengths and work on our weaknesses. We have received immense support from the coaches and the staff who have helped us reach the Playoffs.”

Bengaluru Bulls captain Pawan Sehrawat : It has been a tough season, all teams have played their best and we gave our 100% on the mat. We are excited to be a part of the Playoffs and aim to win that trophy for our fans, coaches, and the support staff who have supported with us throughout seasons.”

8:05pm: Meanwhile, a crazy game is unfolding in eliminator one where Pardeep Narwal is leaving Puneri Paltan's inexperienced bunch helpless - Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Eliminator 1 Highlights: Pardeep's Super 10 helps UP Yoddha beat Puneri Paltan 42-31

8pm: Bengaluru Bulls
has made it to the playoffs for the third straight season. The main reason, unsurprisingly, has been captain Pawan Sehrawat. He became the first player in PKL history to score at least 250 points in three straight seasons. He created history in his last outing as he became the first player in league history to score a High 5 and a Super 10 in the same game. The playoffs are where Pawan comes alive - in his past four playoff appearances, the Bengaluru Bulls skipper has scored 73 points, a scarcely believable average of 18.25 points per game. The Bulls will rely on their leader to put in another big performance.

7:50pm: Gujarat Giants’
inconsistent form saw it placed outside the top for the majority of the season. But four wins and a tie in its last five matches saw the team sneak into the top six. The Giants' depth is its biggest strength. Rakesh, Mahendra Ganesh Rajput, Ajay Kumar and Pardeep Kumar have shared the raiding load and came up big when the Giants needed them to. The side's famed Cover duo of Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar has not been at its best this season, but has picked up form of late. With a young raiding unit and a defence that has the capability to be the best in the league, Gujarat Giants will be a tough nut to crack for the Bengaluru Bulls.

7 :40pm:
The 2022 edition of the Sportstar Aces Awards is back and we are celebrating the marvellous year for Indian Sports that 2021 was. From Neeraj Chopra and the other Olympic and Paralympic medallists to the Indian cricket team, we have a bunch of nominees who need your vote to win! Support your favourite athlete/team here .

7:35pm:
In a team that's coached by the iconic Anup Kumar and features established stars such as Nitin Tomar, Rahul Chaudhari and Vishal Bharadwaj, one youngster has come come along and stolen the limelight - Aslam Inamdar. The young raider hailing from Taklibhan in Maharashtra has made coaches and fans turn around and take notice of his aptitude for the game and stunning skill set. From braving a broken leg to dealing with a tough financial situation at home, Aslam has overcome adversities aplenty to pursue his dream of becoming a professional kabaddi player.

Aslam is the first guest in Sportstar's special series - the Future Kings of Kabaddi.

 

 

7:30pm: Hello folks and welcome to our PKL coverage for the day! After a gruelling league stage in which a total of 132 matches were played, it's time for the business end of the tournament - the play-offs. This stage has already begun with the match between UP Yoddha and Puneri Paltan, first of the two eliminators, currently underway.

The second eliminator which will be covered via this blog is between Gujarat Giants and Bengaluru Bulls. The winner of this match will face Dabang Delhi K.C. in the second semifinal on February 23.

Here's the complete schedule for playoffs -