Pro Kabaddi PKL 8: Jaipur Pink Panthers defeats Gujarat Giants 36-31, Telugu Titans holds Bengal Warriors to 32-32 tie

While Jaipur Pink Panthers beat Gujarat Giants 36-31 in a close contest to enter top five, Telugu Titans came from behind to hold Bengal Warriors to a 32-32 tie in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 8) on Monday.

Jaipur Pink Panthers raider Deeapk Hooda tries to escape the Gujarat Giants defence during the Pro Kabaddli League 8 match in Bengaluru on Monday.   -  PKL

While Jaipur Pink Panthers beat Gujarat Giants 36-31 in a close contest to enter top five, Telugu Titans came from behind to hold Bengal Warriors to a 32-32 tie in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 8) on Monday.

In the first match of the evening, Deepak Hooda was the star for the inaugural champion Jaipur Pink Panthers as it beat Gujarat Giants 36-31. Deepak Hooda scored a Super 10 (11 points) in a win that will help Jaipur in its race for a Playoff spot and top-six finish. He was supported well by the Panthers defence. Sandeep Dhull scored four points while Deepak Singh and Vishal chipped in with three points each. Gujarat Giants had levelled the scores in the dying stages of the second half, but Jaipur’s experience helped it navigate carefully in a tense situation. Raider Rakesh Narwal scored eight points for Gujarat while cover defender Parvesh Bhainswal scored four.

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Jaipur started the match on the front foot with Arjun Deshwal and Deepak Hooda taking turns to raid. But Gujarat slowly got back into the match as its raider duo of Ajay Kumar and Pardeep Kumar got into the game. The much-famed Gujarat defence struggled to stop the Jaipur raiders while at the other end Jaipur started finding form. Rakesh Narwal ensured Gujarat escaped with a few points and delay an All Out. Parvesh Bhainswal and Girish Ernak then combined to execute a Super Tackle for the Giants. But Jaipur eventually clinched that All Out with one minute to half time. It opened a six-point lead with scores 20-14 at half time. The Giants had just three tackle points as opposed to Jaipur’s eight points.

Jaipur started the second half with the desire to inflict another All Out on Gujarat. But the Giants clinched two Super Tackles to temporarily change the balance of the match. Parvesh Bhainswal rushed to four tackle points while Iranian Hadi Oshtorak – a 25th-minute substitute for Ajay Kumar - also impressed. The Giants reduced Jaipur's lead to just three points with 10 minutes remaining.

Gujarat clinched its All Out with seven minutes on the clock to level the scores. However, Deepak Hooda and Arjun Deshwal stepped up a gear. They helped Panthers open a five-point lead with under two minutes remaining. Sandeep Dhull’s strong tackle on Pardeep Kumar all but confirmed a victory with Gujarat left with no star raider to bail it out. Deepak Hooda then picked up two-points in the final raid of the match to clinch a Super 10 and win the match.

- Bengal Warriors and Telugu Titans share the spoils -

In the second match of the evening, Telugu Titans held Bengal Warriors to a 32-32 tie. The closely fought encounter saw both teams take the lead multiple times before settling for a tie in the final minute. Bengal captain Maninder Singh scored a Super 10 (11 points) but that wasn’t once again enough to save his team. The defending champion will now need a flawless end to the season and a few other results going its way to make it to the Playoffs. The Titans showed grit and courage against the Warriors to earn the three points from the tie. Ankit Beniwal (nine points) and Rajnish (seven points) were the stars for the Titans which still has just one win in the entire season.

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The first half was a cagey, low-scoring affair played at a very slow pace. Bengal captain Maninder Singh didn’t have his usual influence on the mat as Titans defenders tackled him aggressively. The Titans also struggled in their raids with Rajnish and Adarsh failing to fetch points for their team. The Titans inched closer to an All Out in the dying minutes of the first half, but Bengal Warriors produced two consecutive Super Tackles to shift the balance. The four points from the tackles helped Bengal take the lead. There were no All Outs in the first half that ended 14-12 with Bengal on top.

Titans started the second half with a five-point raid (two for out-of-bounds, one for touch and two for All Out) as Ankit Beniwal removed all the Warriors on the mat. That gave the Titans a four-point lead. But Maninder Singh was in no mood to let Titans run away with the match. He produced a three-point Super Raid in the 6th minute after the restart and followed it with a two-point raid.

Maninder secured his Super 10 to continue the fight back to the Titans. The captain inspired other members of the Bengal team with substitute Rohit effective in the defence. Manoj Gowda also chipped in with raid points as Bengal levelled the scores at 27-27 with five minutes on the clock. Bengal used that momentum to clinch an All Out with three minutes remaining to get a three-point lead. To make matters worse for Titans, their raider Rajnish got a yellow card for dissent.

But Ankit Beniwal immediately got a two-point raid for the Titans, and they followed it with a successful tackle on Maninder Singh. That levelled the scores and the Titans decided to not risk going for the win in the final raid of the match.

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