PKL 8: Nabibakhsh's eight-point raid leads Bengal Warriors to 40-39 win over Bengaluru Bulls; Gujarat Giants beat Tamil Thalaivas 37-35 in final minute drama

PKL 8: While Gujarat Giants clinched a dramatic win over Tamil Thalaivas, Bengaluru Bulls lost to Bengal Warriors after a freak raid from Mohammad Nabibakhsh turned the game on its head.

Bengaluru Bulls captain Pawan Sehrawat attempts a raid during the Pro Kabaddi League 8 match against Bengal Warriors on Thursday.   -  PKL

Gujarat Giants clinched a dramatic win over Tamil Thalaivas and Bengaluru Bulls lost to Bengal Warriors after a freak raid from Mohammad Nabibakhsh turned the game on its head in the Pro Kabaddi League in Bengaluru on Thursday.

In the first game of the evening, Gujarat Giants beat Tamil Thalaivas 37-35 in arguably the most fiercely contested match of the season. Coach Manpreet Singh’s Gujarat showed a lot of grit despite trailing by 6 points in the closing minutes to secure an incredible comeback win. Their captain Sunil Kumar scored a High Five while raider Mahendra Rajput picked nine points including one from the last raid of the match.

As it happened: Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Gujarat Giants edge past Tamil Thalaivas 37-35 in dramatic final minute

Gujarat raiders Rakesh S and Rakesh Narwal helped the team open a five-point lead in the early minutes as the Tamil Thalaivas' defenders struggled to find their usual rhythm. But just when the Giants sensed an All Out, Thalaivas' raider Ajinkya Pawar produced a stunning Super Tackle to temporarily shift the balance of play.

The Thalaivas took the lead but the Gujarat defence, marshalled by their calm covers Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar, ensured the momentum remained with them. Mahendra Rajput’s two-point raid took out Thalaivas’ Sagar and Surjeet Singh in one move and that helped Gujarat clinch an All Out with under 3 minutes remaining for half time. The teams changed sides with scores 17-14 in Gujarat’s favour.

Thalaivas’ Ajinkya Pawar raced to 9 raid points in the first 10 minutes of the second half while the raiding trio of Rakesh, Rakesh Narwal and Mahendra Rajput found errors in the Tamil defence. 

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Coach Uday Kumar wanted his Tamil Thalaivas team to inflict an ALL OUT on Gujarat in the final minutes and his team delivered exactly that with a stunning tackle by Sagar and a two-point raid by Manjeet. Thalaivas took a three-point lead with an All Out with four minutes remaining as Manjeet and Ajinkya Pawar clinched Super 10s.

The Giants got back into the match when substitute Pradeep Kumar clinched a stunning 3-point Super Raid with just a minute to go.

Gujarat got an All Out to take a one-point lead, but Mohit made the scores level again with a tackle on Mahendra Rajput. However, Sunil’s stunning tackle on Manjeet followed by a successful raid by Mahendra Rajput got the Giants a crucial win.

In the second match of the evening, defending champions Bengal Warriors beat Bengaluru Bulls 40-39.

As it happened: Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Nabibakhsh's freak raid helps Bengal Warriors beat Pawan Sehrawat's Bengaluru Bulls

The Bulls dominated most parts of the match with captain Pawan Sehrawat scoring a Super 10 but an eight-point raid by Bengal, thanks to defenders following the raider into the lobby without a touch, helped the Warriors shift the balance of play and eventually clinch the match. Bengal’s Maninder Singh scored 9 points, but they will have to thank their lucky stars for enabling a strange yet exciting comeback win.

Both defences were in the groove with all four in the Bengal team scoring points in the first half. At the other end, Bulls’ Saurabh Nandal and Mahender Singh ensured there were no easy points in the offering for the Warriors. First half finished 14-13 with Bengal in the lead.

Bengal couldn’t contain “High Flyer” Pawan Sehrawat as he went berserk in the early minutes of the second half. He helped the Bulls clinch an All Out in the 4th minute to open a three-point lead. The raider continued his good work as he got his Super 10 and reduced Bengal to just one man on the mat.

The Bulls thought they secured their second All Out when Mohammad Nabibakhsh was tackled by the entire team. Unfortunately for them, the Iranian had entered the lobby without a touch, thereby making everyone who followed him out-of-bounds. The move resulted in a massive change of momentum as Bengal got 7 raid points and a bonus.

Chandran Ranjit was the only raider remaining and Abozar Mighani tackled him in the 10th minute to give Bengal an All Out and open a three-point lead.

Maninder Singh picked up crucial bonus points to ensure Bengal maintained a sizeable lead as the game entered the final minutes. The Bengal defenders kept calm and managed the time perfectly to ensure they won the match by a solitary point. The result helped Bengal jump to fourth in the points table.

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