Bengal Warriors secured its second win on the trot as it claimed a tense 31-28 triumph over Gujarat Giants on day three of the eighth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League in Bengaluru on Friday.
It was a nervy affair that went down to the very last minute, but defending champion Bengal Warriors managed to hold on to its slender lead and pick up another win. Bengal Warriors had a bit of an injury concern in skipper Maninder Singh, who was substituted at the death after he seemed to have injured his ankle or knee. Maninder had also taken a hit to the head earlier in the game.
Gujarat Giants rode on a brilliant performance from Rakesh Narwal, playing in only his second PKL match, as he scored 12 points to bring his side within sniffing distance of a victory.
Earlier in the day, Naveen Kumar became the fastest player to score 500 points in the history of the PKL enroute his 17-point haul which helped Dabang Delhi K.C. beat U Mumba 31-27 in the first match.
The raiders, including Naveen, had a very slow start to the game with both sets of defenders keeping a high line and not even allowing Bonus Points. Vijay, who was impressive in his first match of the season for Delhi struggled, to provide Naveen with the same kind of assistance this time. The first half also saw Ajay Thakur put in a few raids to change momentum.
Mumbai raiders Abhishek Singh and Ajith Kumar had very little luck too. The first half saw no ALL OUTS and ended 12 - 10 in Mumbai’s favour.
Anil Shivam and Abhishek Singh gave Mumbai a quick start in the second half which helped them inflict an ALL OUT in the 5th minute on Delhi and make the scores 19-10. But Naveen was in no mood to let Mumbai run away with the lead and his multiple successful raids helped the Delhi side make an emphatic comeback. He went on to pick his 23rd successive SUPER 10 with 7 minutes remaining in the match and then followed it with a 3-point Super Raid that took the match away from U Mumba.
Bengaluru Bulls beat Tamil Thalaivas 38-30 to register its first win of the season. Pawan Sehrawat picked up 9 points and was ably assisted by his raiding partners Chandran Ranjit (7 points) and Bharat (5 points) as the Bulls recovered from their Day 1 loss to win the Southern Derby against Tamil Thalaivas on Christmas eve.
The first half started with both defences looking strong and keeping a high line. Bulls’ Pawan Sehrawat and Chandran Ranjit struggled to escape the strong arms of Thalaivas defenders. At the other end, K Prapanjan and Manjeet had a tough time against the Bulls defence left by Aman in the left corner.
The game’s changing point in the first half was provided by Bharat, who took over the raiding duties of the Bulls after their top two struggled.
The teams traded blows and the scores were tied 21-25 with just 10 minutes in the match. But a combination of successful tackling and brave raiding by Chandran Ranjit gave the Bulls an ALL OUT with 7 minutes remaining to open up a 5-point lead. Despite Bhavani Rajput’s valiant efforts with his raids, there was no comeback for Thaliavas. Bulls defender Saurabh Nandal secured his High 5 (5 tackle points) in the last move of the game.
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