Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of the Pro Kabaddi League. This is Nihit Sachdeva and I will be taking you through today's PKL 8 match between Tamil Thalaivas and Haryana Steelers.
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Summary: Ashish was the star for Haryana Steelers as it beat Tamil Thalaivas 37-29 to climb to second spot on the points table. Ashish had 16 raid points and was supported well by his captain Vikash Kandola with eight points. The Steelers had a strong start and inflicted their first All Out in the seventh minute to open an eight-point lead. From there on, the Thalaivas tried their best and came close to catching up with the Steelers on multiple occasions but everytime they did, Ashish came up with a moment of brilliance to take Steelers further ahead.
29-37: SUPER RAID!!!! Final raid of the match and Ashish puts in a sublime dubki to deceive Sagar Rathee and Ajinkya after taking the bonus. An eight-point loss and Tamil Thalaivas will walk back without a single point from this match.
29-34: Manjeet picks up a bonus.
28-34: Do-or-die raid for Manjeet who is kept waiting for quite some time until Surender Nada eventually comes in with a careless tackle attempt.
27-34: SUPER RAID!!!! Do-or-die raid for Haryana, Ashish goes in and comes back with a bonus and two touch points, first from an attempted ankle hold on the left corner and then off Surjeet who again came too close to retreat. SUPER 10 FOR ASHISH.
27-31: Manjeet reduces the deficit further with a touch point off Mohit.
26-31: Back to seven-a-side, Vinay goes in for the raid, tries the dubki but the TT chain manages to stop him.
Final strategic time out. Five minutes to go. Tough task for Thalaivas ahead. Can they turn this around?
25-31: ALL OUT!!! Surjeet, last man standing, goes in for the raid and picks up the bonus. However, the Haryana defence has taken him down quite comfortably.
24-27: Do-or-die raid for Ajinkya but this time, the specialist has failed. Ashish has simply flattened him on the mat.
24-26: SUPER TACKLE!!!! Surjeet and Ajinkya team up to hold back Vikash who tries his best to reach the mid-line somehow.
22-26: Ajinkya helps TT in avoiding the All Out as he successfully got out of Ravi Kumar's ankle hold. Bonus point taken as well.
20-26: Vikash reduces TT to a single player as he takes a touch off Sagar Krishna who then had to go for the ankle hold.
20-25: Bonus for Ajinkya.
19-25: Another successful raid for Vikash as Mohit's solo block was just not good enough.
19-24: Bonus for Ajinkya.
18-24: A touch point gifted by Athul as he tried for the ankle hold on Vikash who was just too quick.
First strategic time out. Ten minutes to go. Thalaivas seemed destined to finally catch Haryana but Ashish's Super Raid has ensured that it is still a considerable gap between the two sides.
18-23: Manjeet goes in for the next raid, tries to back track but it is not enough to save him. However, it is one point each as Mohit went completely off the mat in the effort to block Manjeet.
17-22: Uncharacteristic error from Sagar Rathee who came all the way from right corner to left to hold back Vikash.
17-21: Do-or-die raid for Ajinkya, Akshay came for the solo raid and Ajinkya skipped past him comfortably.
16-21: SUPER RAID!!! Excellent raid by Ashish!!! He first escaped Sagar Krishna's ankle hold, then negotiated Athul's block back-tracking and stopped just before mid-line to take a touch off Surjeet who had come too close to retreat.
16-18: The Thalaivas are coming back. Vinay came in for the raid and Surjeet and co. pushed him off the mat.
15-18: Big kick by Manjeet on Akshay on the left corner. Touch point taken.
14-18: Do-or-die raid for Vikash and he needs to get a touch since there are only four Thalaivas players on the mat. However, he misses the running hand touch on Mohit and enters the lobbies for a self-out.
13-18: Athul picks up a bonus. First point of second half for Thalaivas.
12-18: This is brilliant from Haryana. A brutal block by Ravi on Ajinkya Pawar.
12-17: A quick raid by Ashish and he gets a touch point off Sagar Krishna.
12-16: Ashish with an excellent thigh hold takes down Manjeet.
From being 3-11 down, Tamil Thalaivas have made a solid comeback. Stay tuned for an exciting second half.
HALF-TIME: Tamil Thalaivas 12-15 Haryana Steelers
12-15: Do-or-die raid, Ajinkya goes in and makes a fool out of Jaideep, one of the best defenders this season. Jaideep got drawn into the thigh hold but Ajinkya flew over him with the touch point.
11-15: Ashish picks up a bonus.
11-14: Wow!! A double thigh hold by Manjeet and he has sent Vikash back to the bench.
10-14: Manjeet picks up a bonus.
9-14: A half-hearted block by Surjeet and Vinay uses back-tracking skill to good effect.
9-13: A diving hand touch by tall Manjeet on Ravi. Poetry in motion.
8-13: Bonus for Thalaivas. Well done Athul.
7-13: Another error from Sahil who tried to hold back raider Vinay ahead of the baulk line.
7-12: Ajinkya goes in for for the next raid and it is Vinay the all-rounder who holds him back. Everyone contributing in defence for Haryana.
7-11: Back to back tackle points for TT. Sagar blocks Ashish.
6-11: Do-or-die raid for Haryana, Vikash goes in but does not come back. Thalaivas defence finally shows some composure and it was Sagar who initiated the tackle with a flying thigh hold.
5-11: Do-or-die raid, Ajinkya Pawar, two points. Easy as you like. He first picked up a bonus and then got a touch point too courtesy of a failed back hold by Ravi Kumar.
3-11: And now Manjeet is off. Ashish Narwal came in for the raid and executed a brilliant toe touch.
3-10: Back to full strength and Manjeet puts in a decent raid to get a touch point off Mohit.
2-10: ALL OUT!!! Surjeet does not waste time and surrenders to Vikash. What a start for Haryana.
2-7: Akshay with a thigh hold of the highest quality takes down Athul.
2-6: Vikash Kandola lures Mohit into the block and then escapes easily.
2-5: Finally a successful raid for TT as Athul MS gets rid of the dangerous Jaideep.
1-5: And TT is down to two as Vikash takes a touch point off Sagar Rathee. Another successful raid.
1-4: Excellent combination tackle by Jaideep and Mohit to take down Ajinkya.
1-3: Vinay opens his tally as Sahil Gulia's ankle hold fails.
1-2: Do-or-die raid for Vikash and it is Manjeet of all people who goes for the tackle. Silly error from Thalaivas' premier raider.
1-1: Lovely ankle hold on the left corner by Akshay to take down Bhavani.
1-0: Manjeet picks up a bonus after Vikash's empty raid.
TOSS - Tamil Thalaivas wins the toss and selects right side of the court. Haryana Steelers to raid first.
Tamil Thalaivas: Surjeet Singh (c), Sahil Gulia, Sagar Rathee, Mohit Jakhar, Bhavani Rajput, Ajinkya Pawar, Manjeet
Haryana Steelers: Vikash Kandola (c), Vinay, Ravi Kumar, Ashish Narwal, Jaideep Dahiya, Mohit Nandal, Akshay Kumar
7:20pm: Head-to-head stats: Matches played - 6, Matches won by Tamil Thalaivas - 2, Matches won by Haryana Steelers - 1, Tied matches - 3, Last meeting - Tamil Thalaivas won 45-26
7:10pm: The Haryana Steelers come into this game on the back of two successive wins. Haryana has held its opponents to under 30 points in its last two matches, and coach Rakesh Kumar will be proud of the effort his team put in on offence and defence to achieve that feat. After having a rather low-scoring campaign by his lofty standard, Vikash Kandola has finally picked up form and has scored three Super 10s in his last four outings. A fourth in five games will go a long way in helping Haryana move to second on the points table.
7pm: In its previous outing, Tamil Thalaivas succumbed to a narrow 35-33 loss against U Mumba. Thalaivas had a torrid first half but came back strong in the second; however, their comeback fell short. The raiding unit had a poor outing as they managed only 16 raid points while conceding 14 tackle points. The defence outscored U Mumba’s raiding unit in the second half, but had an uncharacteristically poor first half, which left them a mountain to climb in the second. Coach J Udaya Kumar will want his side to emulate its performance from the second half, and if it does manage that, it could find itself in the top six of the points table by the end of the night.
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6 :40pm: In case if you're new to this sport, here's a simple explainer that covers all the rules of the game and the various terms such as 'All Out', 'Do-or-die' and 'Super Tackle'-
6:30pm: Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of the first PKL 8 match of the day between Tamil Thalaivas and Haryana Steelers. But before that, here's a recap of what happened last night in the PKL over the last fortnight- PKL notebook: Swift rescheduling saves the League