PKL 2019: Tamil Thalaivas loses home leg opener, Bengal and Delhi settle for last-minute draw

Ajay Thakur and Rahul Chaudhari seemed ordinary as the home-leg jinx in the Pro Kabaddi League continued with Tamil Thalaivas losing the Chennai opener to Bengaluru Bulls.

K.Prapanjan led a spirited Bengal Warriors attack but a review in the death helped Dabang Delhi restrict the former to a draw.   -  Special arrangement

The phrase, "cometh the hour cometh the man", is used to describe someone who emerges as a saviour at the time of need. But what if you have someone who gets the job done day in and day out?

Pawan Kumar Sehrawat is to Bengaluru Bulls what water is to fish - indispensable.  Displaying his acclaimed gravity-defying, blink-an-eye-and-you-miss-it-raids, Pawan starred once again as he powered Bengaluru Bulls to a 32-21 triumph over Tamil Thalaivas at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, here on Saturday.

READ : PKL 2019 Chennai leg opener, as it happened

Tamil Thalaivas won the toss and chose the court. The capacity crowd made its support for the home side evident, but that didn't bother Pawan one bit. He stepped up to the mid-line, looked at the referee and readied himself.

Donning a bright green sleeve on his right arm, the same one he uses for his feared running hand touches, Pawan got a bonus point off his first raid. He followed it up with seven consecutive raids, pocketing an impressive six points in 7 raids, steering the Bulls to a commanding 10-1 lead in under seven minutes.

It was a  nightmarish start for Tamil Thalaivas, playing its first game at home, but the side managed to recover.

After a sedate start, captain Ajay Thakur single-handedly reduced the gap to six points at the interval. As the crowd went ballistic on one end with tamil songs adding to the excitement in the stadium, the Thalaivas were busy, with a gameplan to figure out.



Coach E. Bhaskaran sent in local lad Ajith Kumar, and the youngster repaid his faith with two successive raids points, courtesy of some nimble footwork.

His arrival injected the much-needed energy into the team and some wily defending saw the side claw its way back to make it a two-point game at 17-19.

But that's the closest the home side got as Pawan went on to complete his Super 10 and right corner Saurabh Nandal bagged a High-5 to guide Bengaluru Bulls, the defending champion, to an 11-point win.

The second clash of the evening saw a pulsating encounter end in a tie as Bengal Warriors and Dabang Delhi shared the spoils in a 30-30 draw.

Dabang Delhi got off to a fantastic start as Chandran Ranjit struck gold with a Super Raid off his very first raid.

Delhi soon inflicted an All-Out and was running away with the game with an eight-point advantage at one stage, but some resolute defending saw the Warriors seize control.

Veterans Jeeva Kumar and Sukesh Hegde picked up six points to turn the tide in Warriors' favour, and Rinku Narwal pinned the electric Naveen Kumar to the mat to claim an All-Out and get the game on level terms at 25-all.

In the see-saw battle that followed over the next eight minutes, star K. Prapanjan shone with a supreme Super Raid to give the Warriors a three-point lead. 

However, Naveen Kumar ensured his side remained in contention as he kept the points coming and the scoreline read 30-29 in Warriors' favour with 30 seconds left on the clock.

With only a few seconds separating him and victory, Prapanjan went on the final raid and seemed to have got a touch on Saeid Ghaffari, but the Iranian was absolutely sure that there wasn't one.

A tense few seconds ensued as the decision was reviewed.  The initial call from the TV umpire was that there was a touch, but he quickly reversed his decision and awarded the point to Dabang Delhi, thereby ending the game in a draw.

Warriors' Mohammad Nabibakhsh and Dabang Delhi's Meraj Sheykh walked off the arena arm in arm, as both teams went home with an equal share of points. 
 

Brief scores

Tamil Thalaivas 21 (Ajay Thakur 4, Ran Singh 4, V Ajith Kumar) lost to Bengaluru Bulls 32 (Pawan Sehrawat 11, Saurabh Nandal 5, Rohit Kumar 2)

Bengal Warriors 30
(K. Prapanjan 10, Jeeva Kumar 4, Mohammad Nabibakhsh 3, Maninder Singh 3) drew with Dabang Delhi 30 (Naveen Kumar 11, Chandran Ranjit 6, Joginder Narwa 4)