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 Dabang Delhi and Patna Pirates.
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The second game of the evening between Gujarat Giants and U Mumba is on. My colleague Lavanya Lakshminarayanan is covering that game. You can follow it here: Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Despite fightback, U Mumba held to draw by Gujarat Giants
Summary: Before the match, Manjeet had said that they had assured Naveen Kumar after his knee injury in their last match that he did not need to worry as they'll play like a unit and win while he recovers. Well, he couldn't really have backed up his words in a better way. In Naveen's absence, all-rounders Vijay and Sandeep Narwal did unexpectedly well in the raiding department. In defense, barring occasional moments of madness, the defenders were pretty disciplined and didn't allow many easy points to the Patna Pirates raiders. And that final tackle by Manjeet will be remembered for a long time!
Patna Pirates did not do much wrong today but I guess they did suffer from Monu Goyat not being there raiding. With this win, Dabang Delhi are back on top of the points table with 42 points in 11 games. Since Patna lost by less than seven, they get one point from this match which takes their tally to 40 and keeping them in second at the cost of Bengaluru Bulls who are now on third with 39 points.
32-29: Manjeet Chhillar has won it! Selvamani came in for the final raid, probably didn't get a touch but Manjeet on the left corner anyway went in for the ankle hold. Selvamani tried to make his way towards the mid-line but the Delhi defense reached in time to stop him. Delhi coach Krishan Kumar Hooda is absolutely ecstatic as Dabang Delhi beat Patna Pirates 32-29 to go top of the table!!
31-29: It isn't! And it is that man Shadloui again! A crucial ankle hold on the Delhi raider gives Patna 12 seconds for the final raid. Can they turn this around?
31-28: Great team work! Delhi knew Sachin won't go back without a touch. They stayed patient before all of them took him down. Surely this is it. Or is it?
30-28: Ashu Malik needed to waste time but Patna defense recognised that and tackled him quickly.
30-27: A quick back-kick by Selvamani on Malak. This is not over.
30-26: Mohammad Malak! What a thigh hold on Prashanth! Patna captain had the touch point and was on his way back but the big Iranian said, "Not today!"
Patna wasted their reviewed saying that Malak has stepped out of bounds before the tackle.
29-26: Krishan Dhull on the right corner went for the ankle hold on Prashanth but the Patna Pirates skipper is just too quick for him.
29-25: SUPER RAID!!! Vijay quickly got a bonus and then while returning, found Shadloui blocking his way. However, Vijay made a great turn in order to go past him. Sachin Tanwar was already on his way to provide the assist and he has to go off as well. Delhi thought they had one more touch and went for the review but this time, they are wrong.
26-25: Skipper gets skipper! Clinical running hand touch by Prashanth on Manjeet on the left corner.
Final strategic time out of the match. Five minutes to go and Delhi has a slender lead. Prashanth Kumar Rai is back on and Sunder goes off. Much needed substitution for Patna.
26-23: One point each . Sub Selvamani had come in for the raid, Jeeva had a good back hold but the rest of the defense came in for the assist and ended up pushing Jeeva off the mat along with Selvamani.
25-22: Sandeep! Brilliant work there. Initially awarded one touch point but he was convinced he had two and went for the review. He gets the decision in his favour.
23-22: Not for long though. This time, it is Sachin Narwal who came in for the raid and the Delhi defense did not let him return to his side of the mat.
22-22: Parity restored. First tackle point for Patna defender Shubham Shinde who took down Vijay.
It's time for the strategic time out. Ten minutes to go. Delhi has somewhat been careless in the second half and need to calm themselves down.
22-21: ALL OUT!!! Last Delhi man on the mat, substitute Balram, went in for the raid, got a bonus but nothing more before finding the entire Patna defense all over him. The comeback is well and truly on!
21-18: Moment of madness for Sandeep. With just him and one more teammate on the mat, he didn't need to go for a tackle on Sachin Narwal since Sachin had not gotten a touch.
21-17: So close! Vijay went in for the raid, jumped over big Shadloui who got hold of his leg. The rest of his teammates however were a little late and Vijay almost got his fingers across the line.
21-16: Manjeet is at it again what he has been doing all along this season. It was a do-or-die raid for Sachin, the pressure was on the raider, but Manjeet anyway went for a non-existent block and gifted a touch point.
21-15: Bonus for Vijay.
19-15: Sachin Tanwar in for the do-or-die raid. He fails to get a touch on Vijay but Krishan at right corner goes in for the ankle hold. No assist whatsoever and Sachin escapes.
19-14: Deficit down to five now as Monu (not Goyat) gets a perfect ankle hold on Ashu Malik.
19-13: Two point raid for Guman now. He picked a bonus first before a half-hearted dash from Jeeva failed to push him off the mat before he got his hand across the mid-line.
19-11: Guman Singh gets a bonus.
Who would have thought that a Delhi team without star raider Naveen Kumar will be leading by nine points against Patna Pirates? I certainly did not. However, that is what has happened. Will we see Patna rectify the errors in the defense? Let's see in the second half.
HALF-TIME: Dabang Delhi 19-10 Patna Pirates
19-10: Oh Manjeet! There was no need to go for a tackle on Guman. However, the young raider has grabbed a touch point close to the mid-line. And that's half-time!
19-9: Do-or-die raid? No problem. Sandeep Narwal is here. The big man caused panic in the Patna defence which led to Shadloui slipping and providing the touch point on a platter to Sandeep/
16-9: What did I tell you? Sandeep Narwal is in some form. Patna sub Sunder tried an ankle hold at the back which could have been avoided.
15-9: Strong back hold on Prashanth Kumar Rai by Sandeep Narwal. He is in some form today. Defense, offense, he is in action everywhere.
14-9: And now Vijay has been tackled. Patna will not back down.
14-8: Silly error from Vikash who hasn't had a good day so far. Easy touch point for Sachin.
Sajin C looks like he has been injured. The defender has been subbed off. Get well soon, Sajin.
14-7: Ashu Malik gets mobbed by the Patna defense. The youngster will have to walk back to the bench.
13-6: Ouch! Do-or-die raid for Patna and Guman Singh came in. Unfortunately for him, Sandeep Narwal, the beast, took him down brutally.
12-6: Vijay gets a bonus. Decent lead for his team now.
11-6: ALL OUT!!! Well done young Ashu Malik. He drew Shadloui for the ankle hold, got away and then gave no chance to Neeraj to tackle him before he got his hand across the line.
7-6: Sub Selvamani K picks a bonus there and then gets taken off again for the Super tackle opportunity.
7-5: Sandeep Narwal puts Delhi into lead. A quick touch on Guman and then Sajin C tried unsuccessfully on his own to stop him.
5-5: But this time he has been taken down. Manjeet blocks Prashanth and the rest come in time.
3-5: Brilliant back kick on Krishan Dhull by Prashanth who has started the game well.
3-4: Sachin Narwal got trapped there after escaping the ankle hold at the right corner. First tackle point of the night for Delhi.
2-4: Prashanth Kumar Rai picks up a bonus easily.
2-3: Vijay has started off from where he left in the last game. Second raid for him and he gets a running hand touch on Sajin C.
1-3: Do-or-die raid for Delhi and Vijay comes back safely with a bonus point.
0-3: Prashanth Kumar Rai went in, baited the Delhi defenders and then came out taking touch points off Krishan and one other.
0-1: Sachin starts off the proceedings with a bonus.
TOSS - Dabang Delhi K.C. win the toss. Patna Pirates to raid first.
No Naveen Kumar or Monu Goyat. Interesting.
Dabang Delhi: Manjeet Chhillar (c), Neeraj Narwal, Sandeep Narwal, Ashu Malik, Jeeva Kumar, Vijay, Vikash D
Patna Pirates: Prashanth Kumar Rai (c), Shubham Shinde, Sajin C, Mohammadreza Shadloui, Sachin Tanwar, Guman Singh, Neeraj Kumar
7:15PM: Head-to-head stats - Matches played - 12, Matches won by Dabang Delhi K.C. - 4, Matches won by Patna Pirates - 7, Tied matches - 1
7:05PM: Delhi ended their two-match losing streak with a disciplined and hard-fought 28-25 win over Haryana Steelers on Saturday. Their defense was much more calm and composed and did not commit any silly errors against Vikash Kandola's side. Naveen's injury mid-way through the match also gave all-rounder Vijay a chance to shine as he led the raiding unit with 11 points. However, Delhi would still be hoping that Naveen recovers quickly. A win for Delhi today would take them back to the top of the table. For second-placed Patna, a tie would be enough.
6:55PM: Three-time champion Patna Pirates come into this match after a dominating 38-31 win over Pawan Sehrawat's Bengaluru Bulls. The biggest factor in Pirates' win was how they managed to keep Pawan, arguably the raider of the season so far, on the bench for close to 23 minutes. The Pirates defence had somewhat been shocked in a 38-28 defeat to Jaipur Pink Panthers but against the Bulls, they were once again solid and compact with Sunil being the front man. In the raiding department, Sachin Narwal and Guman Singh did a decent job in Monu Goyat's absence. Pirates could possibly repeat that performance against Dabang Delhi if they execute the same strategy and keep Delhi's dangerous raider Naveen Kumar off the mat for as long as possible. However, for that, Naveen first has to start the match and the signs are not too encouraging considering he sat out the entire second half of Delhi's last game with a knee injury.
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6:35PM: Another helpful reminder of the rules. If you need it!
6:30PM: Hello folks! Welcome to our live coverage of the first game of the evening between Dabang Delhi K.C. and Patna Pirates. Before we get to that, here are the results from the last three days -