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 Gujarat Giants and Bengaluru Bulls.
That brings us to the end of our Pro Kabaddi League coverage for the day. We will be back tomorrow. See you then!
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:
Bengaluru Bulls climb to the top of the table as the side rides on another stunning performance from captain Pawan Sehrawat. The High-Flyer scored a whopping 19 points as the Bulls produced a fine all-round display to claim their second successive win. Bharat was particularly good for the Bulls as he bagged seven raid points and also chipped in with two tackle points.
The Gujarat Giants had a star among its ranks in Rakesh HS, who picked up 14 points, but the defence was below-par. The seasoned defensive duo of Sunil and Parvesh scored four points each but they were very error-prone. This was the side's fourth loss in five games and it remains on the 11th spot.
FULL-TIME! Bengaluru Bulls earns a comprehensive 46-37 win over Gujarat Giants.
Gujarat Giants make a desperate claim for a bonus point and review the umpire's decision, but to no avail.
36-45 That's ridiculous from Parvesh. He loses his balance and touches Pawan, who's simply walking back to the mid-line. That's very poor from the Gujarat Giants defence.
36-44 Pardeep makes the quick raid and gets a point off Bharat.
Gujarat Giants coach Manpreet wants his side to make quick raids now.
35-44 ALL OUT! Pawan forces the unforced error from Hadi, who steps off the mat, and then he skips out of Pardeep's meek tackle. The Bulls are now up by nine points with two minutes to go!
35-40 That's a rash tackle from Mahender. He makes a very unnecessary tackle on Hadi, who was the last Giants' player on the mat. The Iranian gets a bonus and a touch point and will revive a team-mate.
33-40 Pawan gets rid of Parvesh and the Giants are down to one man! Parvesh was no match for Pawan there.
33-39 Mahendra is too slow and he gets trapped in a superb ankle hold.
33-38 Pawan is not to be stopped! He teases Hadi on the left corner and waits for Ankit to make the attempt. He coolly pushes Ankit away.
Bengaluru Bulls coach Randhir Singh wants Pawan to score off a back-kick and tells him Parvesh will initiate a tackle. Less than five minutes to go!
33-37 Rakesh has been sent off! The Bulls defence comes together and offers him no escape route.
32-36 Bharat delivers when it matters the most as he lands a cheeky toe touch on Sunil.
31-34 Pawan nearly gets over the mid-line but is dashed off the mat by Pradeep. He's back to the bench.
30-34 Super stuff from Mahender! He dives into an outrageous tackle on Rakesh and that's that!
30-33 Trouble for Bengaluru Bulls! Sunil goes for the lower body, Parvesh goes for the upper body and Bharat has no way out.
29-33 Saurabh has gotten the better of Rakesh on numerous occasions today and he does it again. He traps Rakesh mid-air in a fine ankle hold.
29-32 That's a monstrous tackle from Ankit to relegate Pawan to the bench. That's just what Manpreet wanted!
Gujarat Giants coach Manpreet Singh, "Hadi, do not give away any bonus points. Sunil, he (Pawan) looks tired. Tackle him and go full-throttle!"
27-32 Pawan looks for the back-kick on Hadi and immediately clutches his hamstring. He still gets a running hand touch on the right cover, but he seems to be in some pain.
26-31 Pawan's pace has the Giants' defenders scrambling for safety and Ankit, carelessly, steps off the mat.
26-30 ALL OUT! Saurabh Nandal joins the party as he throws a stunning double thigh hold on Rakesh.
25-27 Excellent from Bharat again as he targets Sunil on the right corner and gets his man! The Giants are staring at an All Out.
24-26 Bharat does really well here. He darts from one end to the other end of the mat and forces Hadi to make the mistake.
Meanwhile, Rakesh has also picked up a Super 10 .
24-25 SUPER TACKLE FROM SUNIL! He lands a perfect ankle hold on Pawan and the Bulls skipper pretty much surrenders.
21-25 SUPERB FROM PAWAN! He runs in between the defensive chain and Pradeep's tackle and bamboozles them! Giants down to two men.
19-24 This is just poor defending from Parvesh as he loses balance and steps into the lobby.
19-22 Pradeep Kumar comes off the bench and delivers for Gujarat Giants with a crucial two-point raid.
HALF-TIME: Gujarat Giants trails Bengaluru Bulls by five points at 17-22. Pawan Sehrawat continues where he left off as he races to yet another Super 10. The Bulls have looked good all-around, while Gujarat Giants has banked on Rakesh's brilliance. The raider has bagged nine points, while the defence has also shown glimpses of its capabilities.
16-22 Pawan has his eyes set on Mahendra Rajput and that's a very easy running hand touch for the Bengaluru Bulls skipper.
Sumit seems to have done some serious damage to his right shoulder. He landed heavily on the mat while trying to tackle Pawan and was writhing in pain. The medical team rushed on to the mat and he's now been stretchered off.
15-21 Pawan is back on the mat and strikes right away as he picks up two more points, off Sunil and Sumit, to score yet another SUPER 10 !
15-19 That's a much-needed tackle point for Bengaluru Bulls as Saurabh does extremely well to tackle the dangerous Rakesh.
Bengaluru Bulls has scored eight points in the last five minutes, the Giants have managed five.
15-18 Bharat goes in and quickly grabs a bonus point to keep the scoreboard ticking.
15-16 The game has changed so quickly! Rakesh displays stunning mat awareness as he gets a running hand touch on Chandran and a touch on Mahender while heading back to his side of the mat. It's a one-point game now.
13-16 That's a top-quality tackle from Sumit. He traps Pawan in a back-hold and pulls him away.
11-16 Pawan extends his tally as he gets rid of Sunil, his rival captain.
Pawan has already scored eight raid points, while the Giants' Rakesh has six points to his name.
11-15 ALL OUT! Bengaluru Bulls are head and how. Thirteen minutes into the game and the Bulls have soared ahead with a four-point lead.
10-11 Bharat lands a pin-point hand touch on Rathan and the Giants are down to two men. That will bring Pawan back on the mat!
10-10 SUPER TACKLE! Parvesh and Hadi combine effectively to tackle Pawan. It needed the combined strength of two men to keep the Hi-Flyer down!
7-10 MASSIVE SUPER RAID FROM PAWAN! He's taken down by as many as three defenders and still somehow manages to extend his hand from underneath the challenge.
7-7 Mahendra Rajput is a big muscular raider, but he's a tad too slow on the turn. The Bulls are cognisant of the fact and Chandran makes a superb tackle.
7-6 SUPER RAID FROM RAKESH! That is mind-blowing from Rakesh! He goes in for the bonus and tempts Aman into making the challenge. Aman attempts an ankle hold and Saurabh offers him support but the wily Rakesh gets past both of them.
4-6 Rathan goes in for the do-or-die raid but has no luck. He's flattened on the mat and has to jog back to the bench. The Giants are down to four men.
4-5 Pawan proves his mettle as he bags a bonus and slips put of Parvesh's half-hearted challenge.
4-2 Sumit, Gujarat Giants' left corner, commits an error and Bharat gets past the mid-line. That revives Pawan!
4-1 Rakesh looks sprightly and lands a neat running hand touch on Mayur.
3-1 Chandran Ranjith comes in on the do-or-die raid and he's taken out by Parvesh. That's a superb double thigh hold from the celebrated defender.
2-1 Rakesh stars with a dubki as he escapes from under the defensive chain.
1-1 Sunil begins with a cracking dash to usher Pawan off the mat. The Bulls' skipper manages to pick up a bonus point. Wow, that's one way to start the game!
Gujarat Giants won the toss and and chose the right side of the court, Bengaluru Bulls will raid first.
8:35pm: LINE UPS!
Gujarat Giants: Sunil Kumar, Rakesh HS, Parvesh Bhainswal, Rathan K, Mahendra Rajput, Sumit, Ankit
Bengaluru Bulls: Pawan Sehrawat, Chandran Ranjith, Aman, Bharat, Saurabh Nandal, Mayur Kadam, Mahender Singh
8:25pm: Gujarat Giants ended its run of six winless games as it beat Telugu Titans 40-22 in is last game. All-rounder Rakesh scored 16 points, while Parvesh Bhainswal announced his return to form with a High-5. Only two teams have scored fewer tackle points than the Giants this season and it will be imperative for the defence to come good. The Giants are currently 11th but could jump to the fifth spot with a win over Bengaluru Bulls today.
8:20pm: Meanwhile, Jaipur Pink Panthers has a slender lead of Patna Pirates with a little more than five minutes to go. Can the Panthers snap the Pirates' six-game unbeaten run? Join my colleague's Nihit's blog here - Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Jaipur Pink Panthers wins 38-28 against table-topper Patna Pirates, Super 10 for Deepak Hooda
8:10pm: Speaking of the Bengaluru Bulls' stunning win over Dabang Delhi....Pawan Sehrawat single-handedly scored 27 points while all of Dabang Delhi managed only 22! Of course, Dabang Delhi was without its ace raider in Naveen Kumar but that's no excuse for how bad they were as the Bulls ran riot. Here's how that game went down - Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Bengaluru Bulls thrashes Dabang Delhi 61-22 in Naveen Kumar's absence; Pawan Sehrawat scores 27 points
8pm: Hello folks! Iniya pongal nalvazhthukkal and here's wishing you happy Makar Sankranti and Magh Bihu. The second game of the evening will see Gujarat Giants take on a Bengaluru Bulls side that absolutely thrashed Dabang Delhi in its last game. Before we get to that, here are the results from the last three days -