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 U Mumba.
Join us for the final match of the league stage as Haryana Steelers takes on Patna Pirates in what is now a must-win encounter if Haryana wants to make it to the play-offs:
Summary: A collective performance helped Gujarat Giants beat U Mumba 36-33. The victory on the final day of the league stages helped the Giants seal a place in the playoffs and in the process knock out Jaipur Pink Panthers. Raider Rakesh S was the star for two-time finalist Gujarat. He scored a Super 10 (13 points) and ensured the Giants had an early lead in the match. The experienced defence then guarded the team to secure an important victory.
36-33: Do-or-die raid for Giants, Mahendra Rajput goes in and gets tackled but it does not matter as Gujarat Giants beats U Mumba 36-33 and qualifies for the play-offs!!!
36-32: Five-second raid from Ajinkya (as Fazel had asked just before he started it) and he gets a touch point off Parvesh who went for the ankle hold. U Mumba has used the review asking for the bonus as well but the decision goes against them.
36-31: Ajith Kumar steps out of bounds without a touch. Just the perfect sequence of event for Giants.
35-31: Mahendra Rajput goes in for the raid with U Mumba playing a highline. He makes the raid legal and runs down the clock.
Eighty four seconds on the clock.
35-31: Girish Ernak comes up with an important dash to push Shivam off the mat as the raider had gone a bit too deep in order to find the touch point. U Mumba has used the review saying that it should be one point each as Girish too went completely off the mat. REVIEW SUCCESSFUL.
Green card issued to Fazel for neck holding.
34-30: Do-or-die raid for Giants, Rakesh goes in and wastes time before Ajinkya and Fazel flatten him on the mat.
Two minutes left on the clock. Two minutes between Giants and a place in the play-offs provided they keep this lead intact.
34-29: Ajinkya Kapre picks up a bonus. Officials discuss before giving it to the raider. Fazel complains that the clock is still ticking when it should be stopped. Giants lose their review challenging the bonus. It is all happening here.
34-28: Girish Ernak with a crucial block tackles Ajith.
33-28: Do-or-die raid for U Mumba, Pardeep takes the responsibility but does not deliver as Rahul Sethpal brings him down on the right corner with an excellent ankle hold.
Final strategic time out. Five minutes left on the clock.
33-27: Ajith Kumar keeps up the good work with a running hand touch on Parvesh Bhainswal.
32-26: Mahendra Rajput does not let the nerves get to him as he puts in a multi-point raid removing Rinku and Rahul in the process.
30-26: ALL OUT!!! Ajith Kumar evaded one Iranian (Soleiman Pahlevani) and then another (Hadi Oshtorak) to inflict the All Out. SUPER 10 FOR AJITH KUMAR!!!
30-22: Rakesh picks up a bonus but that does not bring a revival. All Out still very much in there for U Mumba.
First strategic time out. Ten minutes to go and suddenly, Giants find themselves in a spot of bother as they have a mere seven-point lead and only two men on the mat.
29-22: One more two-point raid for U Mumba and this time the raider is Shivam. Parvesh goes in with the ankle hold and Sunil comes up with the block but the young raider, by sheer determination, gets his hand across the mid-line.
29-19: Ajith Kumar continues to impress. Another successful raid as he picks up a touch off Pardeep and back tracks skillfully to nullify Girish's block.
28-17: Mahendra Rajput is the next raider. He goes in, invites Rahul Sethpal for the ankle hold who accepts it but gets no support.
27-17: A loose ankle hold by Hadi on the right corner and no problem for Ajith Kumar to make it to the mid-line.
26-16: Wow!!! Abhishek Singh had his face towards the right in search of a touch point and in came Girish with a sublime back hold to put him down.
25-16: Do-or-die raid for U Mumba but Abhishek Singh quickly picks up the mandatory point with a running hand touch on the right corner.
25-15: Do-or-die raid for Giants, substitute Pardeep Kumar goes in and Fazel Atrachali brings him down with a beautiful ankle hold.
25-14: Shivam went in for the raid and before he could realise, his ankle was trapped and he had been blocked.
24-14: Did I say nine? Make that ten. Rinku goes for the advanced tackle on Mahendra Rajput and gets no support. Rightly so.
23-14: ALL OUT!!! Ajith Kumar surrenders in front of Rakesh in order to save time. Nine-point lead for Giants.
This is going according to script for the Giants. They have a six point which could increase soon as U Mumba is on the verge of another All Out. Remember, a win here and Manpreet Singh's men are through to the play-offs. A win for Giants would also mean that Haryana Steelers will have to beat table topper Patna Pirates in the final game of the evening in order to qualify for the play-offs.
HALF-TIME: Gujarat Giants 20-14 U Mumba
20-14: SUPER 10 FOR RAKESH!!!! What a time to put in a performance like this. Final raid of the first half and Rakesh looks for the touch on Rahul Sethpal who goes for the ankle hold but the raider retreats just in time.
19-14: Ajith Kumar avoids the All Out for U Mumba as he picks up a bonus and then goes past Girish's block.
18-12: Ajith Kumar picks up a bonus.
18-11: Rakesh with another two-point raid as the duo of Rinku and Shivam fails to push him off the mat.
16-11: Girish and Mahendra Rajput combine and Abhishek Singh has been tackled yet again.
15-11: Rakesh with a much-needed multi-point raid as he first jumps over Rahul's block and then beats Fazel's dash with his speed.
13-11: Abhishek Singh puts in the next raid and creates such pressure that Parvesh breaks the chain with Girish on the left corner and goes out of bounds on his own.
13-10: Shivam goes in, looks for the touch on Hadi and looks like he has it as he runs back. Sunil comes up with the dash a little too late. Guess what? There was no touch on Hadi.
13-9: Trademark Fazel. A knee hold by Sultan and Ajay Kumar had no chance to escape.
13-8: Brutal double ankle hold by Parvesh Bhainswal to bring a tall and mighty Abhishek Singh down.
12-8: A dubki of the highest quality by Shivam as he deceives the attempted chain tackle by Giants.
12-6: Do-or-die raid for Giants, Mahendra Rajput goes in and gets a touch off Abhishek with a running kick. Abhishek clearly didn't learn his lesson.
11-6: Hadi Oshtorak with an excellent diving ankle hold stops Ajith Kumar from running away with a touch point.
10-6: Ajay Kumar goes in for the raid but does not come back as the U Mumba defence mobs him.
10-5: Ajith Kumar with a successful raid as Parvesh accepts the error he made in defense.
10-4: ALL OUT!!! Rakesh does it this time as he escapes Shivam's ankle hold and negotiates Shivam's dash to make it to the mid-line.
6-4: Not yet, says Shivam. He picked up a bonus and then got a stunning running hand touch on Hadi on the right corner.
6-2: Running hand touch on Rinku for Rakesh and All Out is one tackle away.
5-2: Shivam picks up a bonus.
5-1: U Mumba is down to two as Rakesh throws in the kick to take a touch off Harendra on the left corner.
4-1: Ajith Kumar is flat on the mat due to a brilliant combination tackle by Girish and Parvesh.
3-1: Mahendra Rajput, who had a Super 10 in last match, opens his account with a back kick to take a touch off Abhishek Singh.
2-1: Ajith Kumar picks up a bonus.
2-0: Ajay Kumar starts off things for Giants in style as Rahul Sethpal's ankle hold proved insufficient while Fazel's assist came too close to the mid-line.
0-0: Abhishek Singh goes in for the opening raid of the match and returns pointless.
TOSS - Gujarat Giants wins the toss and selects right side of the court. U Mumba to raid first.
Gujarat Giants: Sunil Kumar (c), Hadi Oshtorak, Mahendra Rajput, Girish Ernak, HS Rakesh, Ajay Kumar, Parvesh Bhainswal
U Mumba: Fazel Atrachali (c), Abhishek Singh, Ajith Kumar, Harendra Kumar, Shivam, Rahul Sethpal, Rinku
Update from first match: Puneri Paltan has beaten Jaipur Pink Panthers but the scoreline of 37-30 does not guarantee a play-off spot to either team for the time being. However, one team that has now qualified for the play-offs is Hi-Flyer Pawan Sehrawat's Bengaluru Bulls!
8:25pm: The Giants have won five and lost three of their nine matches against U Mumba. The first meeting between the two sides this season finished in a tie, which was incidentally the first time the two teams have shared the spoils.
8:20pm: Gujarat Giants is in a good spot in the race for a playoff berth, courtesy of three wins and a tie in its last four matches. The Giants simply need to beat U Mumba and they’ll finish in the top six. If their game finishes in a tie, they’ll have to rely on Patna Pirates beating Haryana Steelers to book their berth in the playoffs.
Three defeats in its last three matches ended U Mumba’s hopes of a playoff berth. The team simply couldn’t string together a series of results to strengthen its place in the top six and eventually paid the price. U Mumba will still want to go out with a win and help neighbour Puneri Paltan in its bid for a place in the playoffs by beating the Giants.
8:17pm: In the first match of the evening, Puneri Paltan leads Jaipur Pink Panthers 33-22 with a little more than six minutes left on the clock. Puneri Paltan will simply have to beat the Jaipur Pink Panthers to qualify for the playoffs. But with the way things are placed, it could miss out even if it wins. Puneri Paltan also needs U Mumba or Patna Pirates to win or tie their games to ensure its qualification. Puneri Paltan can only qualify on its own accord if it beats Jaipur Pink Panthers by 28 points and leapfrogs Bengaluru Bulls on the points table. Jaipur Pink Panthers will qualify for the playoffs if it beats Puneri Paltan today, simple as that. However, if it plays out a tie, then it will have to rely on U Mumba beating Gujarat Giants or holding it to a tie, or hope Patna Pirates beats Haryana Steelers. Jaipur Pink Panthers' season will end if it loses today. In short: the side simply cannot afford a loss. Follow my colleague Shyam Vasudevan's live coverage of this exciting match here:
8:10pm: 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.
8:05pm: 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! Click here to VOTE!
8pm: Hello folks and welcome to our second game of the evening in which a win for currently seventh-placed Gujarat Giants over 10th-placed U Mumba will guarantee Manpreet Singh's men a spot in the play-offs irrespective of the results of today's other two matches! Before we get to that, here's a recap of what went down in the PKL over the last fortnight -
- Live Score IND vs WI 2nd Test, Day 4: India sets West Indies 365-run target; Rain delays restart
- Hopman Cup: Croatia downs Switzerland to clinch title
- Jonas Vingegaard wins second successive Tour de France
- Wrestling trials for Asian Games: Upsets galore show past has little influence on the present
- Deodhar Trophy: Tournament favourite South Zone looks to open campaign on a high against North Zone