An exciting first day of season eight of the Pro Kabaddi League saw emphatic wins for U Mumba against Bengaluru Bulls and Bengal Warriors against UP Yoddha, while Tamil Thalaivas and Telugu Titans settled for a draw in an evening which saw established stars struggled to get going.
Wednesday's triple header is a new feature in the PKL this season. Here's a look at the results from day 1 of PKL 8.
As it happened: Pro Kabaddi League Highlights: Bengal Warriors, U Mumba post wins; Telugu Titans draws with Tamil Thalaivas
Abhishek Singh was the star for U Mumba as the side beat Bengaluru Bulls 46 – 30 in the inaugural match of VIVO Pro Kabaddi League season 8 held at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, Bengaluru.
The U Mumba raider clinched a SUPER 10 (19 points) and was ably supported by the team’s defence in a statement victory by the Season 2 champion. Pawan Sehrawat had an off-day for Bengaluru Bulls who missed a quality third raider to support Chandran Ranjit and Pawan on the match.
Interestingly, left corner specialist Amit Sheoran was not picked by the Bengaluru Bulls to start the match in an other predictable team selection for both sides.
The first raid of the season resulted in a successful tackle on the “high-flyer” Pawan Sehrawat by Harendra Kumar. In fact the first minutes went on to be dominated by the team from Mumbai with Abhishek Singh picking up important raid points. Fazel Atrachali, captain of Mumbai in the left corner, had very little to do, as his defenders Harendra and Ashish Sangwan, ensured the Bulls raiders struggled to pick the points.
U Mumba forced the game’s first ALL OUT in the 8th minute and opened up a 6-point lead (11-5).
But the Bulls, Season 6 champions, were in no mood to let Mumbai open up a healthy lead. Chandran Ranjit produced two Super Raids (3 or more points) for the Bulls to close the gap but Bengaluru failed to inflict an ALL OUT when Abhishek Singh revived his team with a 4-point Super Raid. The raider also clinched a Super 10 (10 or more points) in the process. At half time, U Mumba had a 7 point lead over Bulls (24-17).
The lack of Do-or-die raids in the first half was testimony to the high pace with which the encounter was being played. The Bulls had just one tackle point in the half and they brought in Amit Sheoran. But that could not stop U Mumba from inflicting another ALL OUT in the second minute after restart. U Mumba’s Ajith Kumar and the pack of defenders ensured the Bulls never narrowed points gap.
Just as Bulls sensed a comeback, U Mumba’s “Sultan” Fazel Atrachali produced a Super Tackle with 5 minutes in the clock and Ajith Kumar followed it up with a 3-point Super Raid. U Mumba fetched another ALL OUT with 3 minutes remaining to seal the match.
READ: PKL 2021: Five Indian stars to watch out for
Telugu Titans made an incredible comeback to draw Tamil Thalaivas 40-40 in the second match the day.
Manjeet was the star raider for the Thalaivas with a SUPER 10 (12 raid points) while Siddharth Desai, despite spending a lot of time away from the mat, clinched a crucial SUPER 10 (11 points) for the Titans.
It was the Telugu Titans who impressed in the early stages of the match with Siddharth Desai and Rajnish clinching important raid points. At the other end, Sandeep Kandola was at the heart of everything positive the Titans did with their defence, which clinched them an ALL OUT in the 8th minute and open up a 7 point lead.
But the much-changed Tamil Thalaivas were in no mood to let the Titans run away with the lead. Solid tackling and sensible raiding helped them stay in striking distance.
A 3-point Super Raid with 4 minutes remaining to half time by Manjeet gave Thalaivas an opportunity to inflict an ALL OUT and they did so in the 18th minute to make the scores 20-20. The momentum helped the team from Tamil Nadu end the half with a 3 point lead (23-21).
Captain Rohit Kumar’s absence due to a suspected injury meant Titans looked leaderless in attack. The second half saw both the teams matching each other with tackles. Manjeet and Prapanjan impressed with the raids with the former getting his SUPER 10 (10 or more points) with 10 minutes left on the clock.
The Thalaivas clinched their second ALL OUT soon to make their lead 5 points. It had seemed Surjeet Sigh and Sahil’s defensive work would see the Thalaivas through in the last minutes, but Siddarth Desai stepped up his game to inflict an ALL OUT on the Tamil Nadu with 2 minutes remaining and levelling the score. The Titans then produced a successful tackle on Manjeet in the last move of the match to seal an incredible comeback tie.
Mohammad Ismail Nabibaksh's all round show helped Bengal Warriors get their tittle defence off to a sparkling start with a 38-33 win over UP Yoddha.
The Iranian all-rounder registered 11 points and stepped up to lead the Warriors' resistance against an unsure opposition led by the imperious Pardeep Narwal.