Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of the Pro Kabaddi League. This is Shyam Vasudevan and I will be taking you through today's PKL 8 match between Jaipur Pink Panthers and U Mumba.
We've got another high-octane clash in store as the Haryana Steelers take on Bengaluru Bulls. Join me on the live blog here -
Meanwhile, you can also check out our Kings of Kabaddi series from PKL 7 - a happier time pre-COVID when we got to physically sit down with some of the biggest names in the league and hear their stories. You can check out all episodes here:
Ajith Kumar was unable to take U Mumba past the finish in the previous game against Tamil Thalaivas but gets the job done today as he powers his side to a 37-28 win over Jaipur Pink Panthers. Ajith starred with 11 points, while Abhishek Singh was also in fine touch and picked up a Super 10. The Jaipur Pink Panthers struggled all throughout, with the defence enduring a poor outing. Arjun Deshwal was the only Jaipur Pink Panthers who showed some sort of promise as he bagged 14 points in an otherwise forgettable outing for the former champions.
28-37 Ajith Kumar bags a point off his last raid and U Mumba has claimed its second win of the season.
If a team loses by less than seven points, then it earns one point. Jaipur Pink Panthers are now trailing by eight points.
28-36 Strange bit of play from Abhishek. He picks up a point but wants to go for a Super Raid and ends up getting tackled instead.
The Jaipur Pink Panthers coach says go for the kill and grab as many points as you can, but the team does the exact opposite! They do not even initiate a tackle on Abhishek and the U Mumba raider simply kills the clock.
24-35 Harendra nearly gave away a point but recovers well to lay a superb ankle hold on Sushil.
23-34 SUPER TACKLE! Shaul and Vishal do extremely well to contain Ajith, who tries his best to wriggle out, and pick up two points.
21-33 SUPER 10 for Abishek Singh! He delivers in the do-or-die raid and picks up his second Super 10 of the season.
"Stay compact, defend in a chain and tackle in a chain. Let them get the bonus, but nothing more than. Use Mohsen for a raid, only 70% and don't go too deep," says U Mumba coach Rajaguru Subramanian.
Less than five minutes to and Jaipur Pink Panthers are staring at a 11-point deficit.
21-32 That is a stirring tackle! Fazel initiates it and Sunil offers him support and Arjun is off the mat.
Fazel goes on a rare raid. That's a nice sight!
21-31 The Jaipur Pink Panthers finally comes to action and combines well to send Ajith to the bench.
"We know his game and he doesn't do the dubki, he will target the corners" says Fazel Atrachali of Arjun.
19-30 Arjun is pretty doing it all for Jaipur Pink Panthers. He picks up a bonus point and skips past Sunil's tackle to offer his side a ray of hope.
17-30 Abhishek outwits Nitin Rawal yet again! The U Mumba raider heads in for a do-or-die raid and waits until the very end before getting an easy touch on Nitin.
16-29 The Sultan with a ruthless tackle. He launches into a thigh hold on Deepak and single-handedly yanks him away from the mid-line. Solid stuff from the U Mumba skipper.
16-28 SUPER 10 for AJITH! He's back with another humongous raid and eliminates Dharmaraj and another Jaipur Pink Panthers player.
16-26 Deepak Niwas Hooda finally gets in the thick of things as he overpowers Harendra to bag his third point of the match.
Arjun and Dabang Delhi's Naveen Kumar are the only players to have scored four successive Super 10s in PKL 8.
15-25 SUPER 10! Arjun Deshwal brings up his fourth Super 10 in as many games. He's been Jaipur Pink Panthers' best player by a country mile.
14-25 Arjun is the lone raider who has excelled for Jaipur Pink Panthers and he now gets a running hand touch on right corner Sunil.
Jaipur Pink Panthers have had 13 unsuccessful tackles today. Ouch.
13-25 ALL OUT! This is the second All Out of the match and U Mumba are bossing this game. Fazel and co. have a sublime 12-point lead now.
12-22 Abhishek picks up a point to begin the second half and Jaipur Pink Panthers are now down to one man.
Ajith Kumar has been lethal in the first half and has bagged eight points, while Arjun Deshwal has also looked in good touch. An intense second half awaits!
12-21 That is a sublime raid from Abhishek - he jumps over Dharmaraj's tackle and gets a touch on another Jaipur Pink Panthers player to bag two massive points.
12-19 You just can't keep Ajith quiet, can you? He's at it again with a cheeky toe touch to pick up his eighth point of the evening.
11-18 That's really good defending from Vishal. He leaps into a double ankle hold and gets the better of Arjun.
9-17 Abhishek extends U Mumba's lead as he escapes Nitin Rawal's half-hearted challenge.
Fazel has been shown a green card as the umpire says "no more shouting." Fazel, calmly, says "okay, sorry" and moves on.
Dharmaraj Cheralathan has come on for Jaipur Pink Panthers. Dharmaraj, at 46, is the oldest player in the League. Here's more on his journey with the PKL and his passion for agriculture -
9-14 Good comeback from Arjun. He slips out of Fazel's ankle hold and grabs another point on his way back.
7-13 That is a monstrous tackle from Fazel! The Iranian almost spears Deepak Hooda to take him out of the equation.
The word from the centre is that Ajith has hurt his left pinky finger. He's still visibly in pain, but he's motoring on.
7-12 ALL OUT! Abhishek Singh inflicts the All Out as he gets rid of both the remaining Jaipur Pink Panthers players and U Mumba now has a five-point lead.
6-8 Ajith gets his man! He toys with the defence for the longest time and then gets a running hand touch on Nitin Rawal. Jaipur Pink Panthers are down to two men!
Uh-oh! Ajith seems to have hurt himself in the process and is writhing in pain.
5-7 SUPER RAID! That is absolutely stunning from Ajith. He escape an ankle lock and gets two touches on his way back to scalp a massive three-point lead.
This has been a very cagey affair so far and neither side has really been able to stamp its authority on this tie just yet.
5-4 Both the captains are off the mat! Fazel makes a mighty dash to shove Deepak off the mat but he goes into the lobby before contact is made and both sides get a point.
4-2 Two-point raid for Arjun! He bags the bonus and then runs past Sunil to give his side the early lead.
2-2 Mohsen strikes in his first raid of the season! He heads straight in and gets a toe touch on the right corner.
2-1 That's a superb block from Shaul Kumar! The right cover races in and stops Abhishek with a fine upper-body tackle.
1-1 A fabulous running hand touch from Arjun and he delivers in the do-or-die raid!
0-0 Arjun Deshwal, up against his former team, comes in with the first raid but it's an empty raid.
7:28pm: LINE UPS!
Jaipur Pink Panthers: Deepak Niwas Hooda, Arjun Deshwal, Amit, Vishal, Nitin Rawal, Shaul Kumar, Sandeep Dhull
U Mumba: Fazel Atrachali, Abhishek Singh Sunil, Harendra, Mohsen, Ajith, Rinku
7:20pm: Our second game of the day will see Haryana Steelers take on the Bengaluru Bulls. Bengaluru Bulls will have a new captain this season in Pawan Kumar Sehrawat. The muscular raider replaces Rohit Kumar, who has since moved to Telugu Titans. Pawan is a true beast on the mat, he scored 360 points last campaign to top the scoring charts for the second season running. Pawan holds the record for the most points in a match at 39 and will be crucial in Bengaluru Bulls' quest for a second title.
Here's a really fun chat we had with him last season, where he talks about his journey with Bengaluru Bulls, how he nearly quit the sport and his love for PUBG (it was still around then!).
7:15pm: Winless in two games, if U Mumba can beat the Jaipur Pink Panthers today then the side will climb to the second spot in the standings. Check out the PKL 8
7:10pm: There will be a lot at stake today for Jaipur Pink Panthers' ace raider in Arjun Deshwal today. He has been a revelation in PKL 8 and is one of only two players alongside Naveen Kumar to have registered a Super 10 in every game this season. Today will be an emotionally charged game for Arjun as he takes on his former side, U Mumba.
7:05pm: Head to head stats - Jaipur Pink Panthers and U Mumba have locked horns 17 times in the PKL and U Mumba has prevailed in nine of those matches. Jaipur Pink Panthers has won six times, while th two remaining games ended in a tie.
6:55pm: Speaking of Fazel, the Iranian defender is one of the best names in the League. He is the best-paid foreign player in the PKL and is among the best defenders in the modern age. He orchestrated Iran's win over India at the 2018 Asian Games and led the nation to the gold medal.
Fazel, one of the most entertaining players in the PKL, had a sit-down with us last season and spoke about his love for Bollywood, Indian food and his chance meeting with Amitabh Bachchan -
6:50pm: U Mumba has managed only one win in three games and is currently on the eighth spot. The side played a draw with Tamil Thalaivas in its previous encounter. Led by Iranian superstar Fazel Atrachali, U Mumba has banked on the raiding brilliance of Abhishek Singh and youngster Ajith Kumar this season.
6:45pm: Hello guys and welcome to another day of kabaddi action! We've got a very interesting clash today as Jaipur Pink Panthers takes on U Mumba in a repeat of the final of the first season of PKL. Jaipur Pink Panthers is fourth on the table with 11 points and comes into the tie on the high of beating Pardeep Narwal's UP Yoddha in its last game.
Before we introduce you to the fixtures of the day, here's a look at the results from the last three days -
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