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 Gujarat Giants and Dabang Delhi K.C.
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Summary: After two consecutive losses, Dabang Delhi K.C. has bounced back tonight with a dominating 41-22 win over Gujarat Giants, a side which stepped on the mat after nine days. Delhi started the game strongly and inflicted an All Out soon. Post that, the Giants recovered well but still ended up trailing by 11 points at half-time. Delhi didn't let its guard down as it inflicted another All Out ten minutes into the second half. It seemed like the Giants were finally coming back into the game as they reduced Delhi to two players. However, two consecutive Super Tackles from Delhi ended any hopes of a turnaround for the Giants. Delhi was balanced in both the departments. In the absence of the star raider Naveen Kumar who has returned to training following his knee injury earlier in the season, Vijay Kumar, Sandeep Narwal, Neeraj Narwal and Ashu Malik all chipped in with crucial raid points. The biggest positive Delhi can take from today's game is the performance in defense as Krishan Dhull and Manjeet Chillar picked up a High-5s. With this win, Dabang Delhi climbs to top of the points table. Gujarat Giants stays on 11th.
22-41: Final raid of the match and Hadi Oshtorak simply runs down the clock. Dabang Delhi K.C. beats Gujarat Giants 41-22!!!
22-41: Probably the second-last raid of the match, Vijay goes in and comes back with a running hand touch on Giants skipper Sunil.
22-40: The Delhi defense keeps up the good work as it tackles sub Maninder Singh easily.
22-39: Two points for Neeraj Narwal. Parvesh tries to block him while Girish for his ankle but it ultimately proves insufficient.
22-37: A good toe touch by Rakesh on Manjeet.
21-36: One point each. Delhi defense sends Pardeep off the mat but the momentum takes Sandeep Narwal off as well. Delhi has wasted its review challenging that decision.
20-36: HIGH FIVE FOR MANJEET!!! The big man takes down Bhuvneshwar Gaur to get his first High Five of the season.
20-35: Vijay returns the favour. A back-kick brings him a touch point off Girish.
20-34: That was quick. A quick back-kick from Bhuvneshwar gets a touch point off Krishan.
Final strategic time out. Five minutes to go. It would take a miracle for Giants to turn this around.
19-34: SUPER TACKLE!!! One more! This time it is Manjeet who comes up with a brutal ankle hold on Rakesh S and gets the assist just in time.
19-32: SUPER TACKLE!!! These are big points for Delhi as it was close to an all out. However, Krishan Dhull tackles Pardeep on his own before Manjeet came for the assist. HIGH FIVE FOR KRISHAN DHULL.
19-30: Girish Ernak comes up with a sensational ankle hold on Ashu Malik who was in for the do-or-die raid.
18-30: Multi-point raid for Pardeep and who does he get? Sandeep and Vijay, the raiders.
16-30: Pardeep puts in a successful raid with a running hand touch off Jeeva.
First strategic time out. Ten minutes to go and Dabang Delhi has a tight hold on this game.
15-30: Rakesh S in for the raid, Joginder goes for the ankle hold but steps into the lobbies first and he has been ruled self-out.
14-30: ALL OUT!!! Sunil does not want to waste much time and he sends Sandeep back as soon as he enter the Giants' half.
14-27: Sub Ajay Kumar comes on the mat for the raid but is made to walk back to the bench quickly as Krishan Dhull comes up with a great dash to push him off the mat.
14-26: Sandeep Narwal goes in for the raid with three Giants players on the mat. He tries to get a touch on Sunil on the right corner and doesn't get it. However, he does come back with a touch point as he gets past Girish's dash.
14-25: Ouch!! Jeeva Kumar sends Rakesh S flying of the mat with a massive dash but the defender has now left the mat with a knock to his shoulder.
14-24: Do-or-die raid, sub Neearj Narwal comes in, Bhuvneshwar goes in for the ankle hold a bit too early and he escapes easily.
14-23: Well done, Krishand Dhull. The defender comes with a superb dash to push Pardeep off the mat.
14-22: Pardeep gets a running hand touch off Sandeep Narwal on the right corner who is too late in stepping back.
13-22: Do-or-die raid for Ashu Malik but the four-man defense of Giants proves enough to stop him.
12-22: Sub Bhuvneshwar Gaur comes in for the do-or-die raid for the Giants and an eager Manjeet provides the touch point on a platter.
Dabang Delhi has dominated the first half in both departments. The defense has been disciplined apart from Jeeva Kumar and has picked seven tackle points. In offense, Vijay Kumar is currently on seven raid points, three shy of a Super 10. It would be interesting to see how Gujarat Giants plays in the second-half.
HALF-TIME: Gujarat Giants 11-22 Dabang Delhi K.C.
11-22: Final raid of the first half and it is an empty one by Rakesh Narwal.
11-22: Hadi goes for the ankle hold on Ashu but finds no support. The youngster reaches the mid-line safely.
11-21: Ashu initiated the tackle and Manjeet came in time for the block. Rakesh S is off the mat again. He did pick up a bonus.
10-20: Unsure ankle hold from Girish and Vijay walks away with the gifted touch point. Picked a bonus too.
10-18: The experience Joginder Narwal shows how it is done. A brilliant ankle hold stops Pardeep for good.
10-17: Do-or-die raid for Ashu Malik and he does pick up a point. It is a bonu. However, he has been sent flying off the mat by an excellent dash from Sunil.
9-16: Another error from Jeeva. This time, it is Pardeep who wins the touch point.
8-16: My word! Ashu contributes in defense with a double thigh hold to take down Rakesh S.
8-15: A running hand touch from Ashu Malik sends Giants skipper Sunil to the bench.
8-14: Rakesh S wins another point for the Giants as he successfully negotiates Jeeva's solo tackle.
7-14: Much better restart from Giants. A decent block from Girish Ernak stops Vijay.
6-14: ALL OUT!!! Hadi, last man on the mat for the Giants, goes in for the raid, gets the bonus but post that has been mobbed by the Delhi defense.
5-10: And now he himself walks back to the bench. An easy block for the Delhi defense ultimately sends Rakesh Narwal off the mat.
5-9: SUPER TACKLE!!! This time it is done. Sandeep has been taken down by Rakesh Narwal and Hadi Oshtorak.
2-9: Super Tackle opportunity for Giants as Sandeep comes in for the raid but Pardeep's solo attempt fails.
2-8: SUPER RAID!!!! Vijay, you super human!! The raider first escaped Ankit's ankle hold and then somehow made his way back to safety despite Sunil's dash. Girish withdrew from the assist but he was too late and Vijay touched him as well.
2-5: Another successful raid for Pardeep as he escapes through Sandeep Narwal's block to return to his side of the mat. The Giants have used their review asking for another touch point and it is an unsuccessful one.
1-5: Vijay goes in for the raid, sees Parvesh coming in for the block, pushes him away while going over the mid-line.
1-4: A half-hearted dash from Jeeva and Pardeep runs away with a point.
0-4: This is some start for Delhi. The defense easily blocks Rakesh S. Tackle point goes to Jeeva Kumar.
0-3: First tackle point of the night and it goes to Manjeet who pushes Rakesh Narwal off the mat.
0-2: Vijay picks another bonus for Delhi.
0-1: Sandeep Narwal starts the proceedings with a bonus.
TOSS - Gujarat Giants wins the toss and selects choice of court. Dabang Delhi to raid first.
Gujarat Giants: Sunil Kumar (c), Rakesh S, Parvesh Bhainswal, Pardeep Kumar, Rakesh Narwal, Ankit, Girish Maruti
Subs: Hadi Oshtorak, Ajay Kumar, Rathan K, Bhuvneshwar Gaur, Maninder Singh
Dabang Delhi K.C.: Joginder Narwal (c), Vijay Kumar, Jeeva Kumar, Manjeet Chhillar, Sandeep Narwal, Ashu Malik, Krishan Dhull
Subs: Neeraj Narwal, Sushant Sail, Balram, Mohammad Malak, Deepak
7:15PM: Head-to-head stats: Matches played - 9, Matches won by Gujarat Giants - 5, Matches won by Dabang Delhi - 2, Tied games - 2, Last meeting: 24-24 tie
Gujarat Giants is currently 11th on the points table but has at least two games in hand over every team except the Patna Pirates. Gujarat is unbeaten in its last two games and is coming off a thrilling win over the Tamil Thalaivas . However, that game was played nine days ago. Raider Mahendra Rajput had a spectacular outing and finished the game with nine points. While the raiding unit impressed again, the Giants’ defence had another average night, scoring only nine tackle points. Gujarat’s defensive unit is among the four teams averaging under nine tackle points per game this season. The defence needs to buckle up in the upcoming games as the Giants attempt to climb into the top six on the points table.
Dabang Delhi has lost three of its last five matches, the last one being a 25-42 loss to Puneri Paltan. Reigning MVP Naveen Kumar’s absence due to a knee injury has undoubtedly affected the team’s performance, but the raiding unit hasn’t been the team’s bane this season. Its defence is averaging the fewest tackle points in the league and has relied on the raiding unit to win games. Coach Krishan Kumar Hooda needs to fix this issue soon, or Delhi’s downward spiral on the points table will continue.
6:54PM: Update from my colleague Shyam Vasudevan on the Telugu Titans vs Bengal Warriors match - Today's game between Telugu Titans and Bengal Warriors has been called off because one of the teams had a few players under the weather. No one has tested positive for COVID-19. The game has been postponed as a precautionary measure.
6:45PM: The 2022 edition of the Sportstar Aces Awards is back and we are celebrating the marvellous year for Indian Sports that 2021 was. From Neeraj Chopra and the other Olympic and Paralympic medallists to the Indian cricket team, we have a bunch of nominees who need your vote to win! Support your favourite athlete/team here .
6:40PM: Another helpful reminder of the rules. If you need it!
6:35PM: Originally, today was supposed to be a double-header. However, the second game of the evening between Telugu Titans and Bengal Warriors has been postponed.
6:30PM: Hello folks! Welcome to our live coverage of the only PKL game of the evening between Gujarat Giants and Dabang Delhi K.C. Before we get to that, here are the results from the last three days -
January 28: Patna Pirates steamrolls Tamil Thalaivas 52-24
January 27: Puneri Paltan hammers UP Yoddha 44-38