Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of the Pro Kabaddi League. This is Lavanya Lakshminarayanan and I will be taking you through today's PKL 8 match between Haryana Steelers and Dabang Delhi.
We are just getting started this triple header Saturday. Join my colleague Nihit Sachdeva for the second game of the night: Telugu Titans vs UP Yoddha. It would have been Siddharth Desai vs Pardeep Narwal but injuries have denied us that joy. Nevertheless, big game for both teams. Follow here:
Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: U.P. Yoddha win 39-33 against Telugu Titans, Super 10 for Pardeep Narwal
SUMMARY: This was about proving a point, about pulling off a win without their talisman, Naveen Kumar and Dabang Delhi just about managed to pull that off. I am not sure how happy this team will be with the manner of this win and the fact that it came down to those super raids. Vijay stepped up in Naveen's absence but this Dabang Delhi needs to learn how to breathe when Naveen isn't around and as things stand now, they are miles away from such self sufficiency. If visuals of Naveen icing his knee are as bad as they looked, they might have to learn sooner than later. For Haryana, it always comes down to leaving too much to do to the very end and this is something Rakesh Kumar has candidly lamented about in one too many press conference, but how does Haryana fix it? They did their homework today. They came prepared and did well to execute those plans, but in the end, the small errors amounted to an advantage lost. Much to think about for both teams.
For all those Naveen fans out there, here's a throwback to our interview with him to keep you going while you pray for his recovery.
28-26 Manjeet Chhillar is taken out by Meetu. Haryana will walk away with a point from this game
28-25 Vijay has taken out two again and its Vikash and Ravi, I think? Can't blame Vikash here. Two seconds remain and Meetu needs to manage a multi-point raid to win this game. Vijay has stepped up with a super raid. What a way to step up to the task!
25-25 Haryana's tat. Take out Sandeep Narwal.
25-23 Vijay has managed a touch but is fighting for two. MASSIVE FOR VIJAY. He seems to have taken out Jaideep and someone else but before I can see who, the next raid has begun. GAH
23-23 Scores are even as Dabang Delhi gets a bonus
22-23 Sandeep Narwal making an impact as he almost dashes into Vikash Kandola's legs to get a hold. He finds support as Vikash can't get out. Desperate but good work from Delhi
21-23 Joginder Narwal's absence is missed and Manjeet Chhillar who has changed positions to be in that left corner is caught out by Vikash Kandola's running hand touch.
Now. The big question. Can Dabang Delhi win this game without Naveen Kumar? This is more than just about the result. It's about this team's identity.
21-22 Outstanding work from Ravi on the right corner. It almost looked like Ashu was initially targeting Ravi but he moved on to Surender Nada and then ended up coming in too deep on the right and Ravi gets a hold of his legs. Why did Ashu take so much time? Poor.
21-21 Haryana Steelers get a bonus courtesy Meetu's raid.
21-20 Ashu takes out Ravi and it's a nice whack on his neck.
We have visuals on Naveen. His knee is heavily strapped up with ice taped to the joint. Not good signs AT ALL.
20-20 Brilliant raid from Ashish as he gets a bonus and Jeeva. Jeeva comes across with a dash but Ashu turns almost expecting him and walks away safely. What a moment - one for the highlight reel, this. DABANG DELHI IS REVIEWING THIS and contend this is not a bonus. The review wastage continues. My god, there should be a sign about this somewhere in the Sheraton. Replays show a clear bonus. REVIEW UNSUCCESSFUL, surprise surprise.
20-18 Why would your lead raider go for a dash? Ashu gets a bonus and the touch point. Unnecessary to try such an advanced tackle. Why Vikash?
18-18 Jeeva Kumar gets a double thigh hold on Meetu but it looks like he's got a foot off the line before he makes the the tackle. His foot looks ON the white line. He has had a horrendous few games and this was quality but it might all get undone here if this point is overturned. The TV umpires deem him safe! Such a pro Jeeva is, poor form or otherwise! Delhi is really fighting here in Naveen's absence.
17-18 Sandeep Narwal's induction means a change in positions and Vikash almost makes the chain on the left step out. Sandeep almost springs to help. OOf.
17-18 WAIT. Sandeep Narwal is here. But as a raider. What is happening? Doesn't do much. Trying to understand this strategy now.
17-18 Jaideep dashes out to Vijay but misses but thank god Mohit has a hold on him and helps him finish the job.
17-17 Krishan Dhull channelling his inner Rinku, gives Vikash Kandola absolutely no chance with that anklehold and singlehandedly turns him out
16-17 Vikash Kandola takes out Manjeet Chhillar. The Delhi defender moves to avoid Vikash but Vikash gets the touch he wants. I am surprised he didn't go to attack Vikash. Unlike Manjeet a little, right?
16-16 Vijay gets a bonus point
15-16 Vinay picks up the left corner. Inexperience on display here for Dabang Delhi. We shouldn't be too harsh, we are use to seeing the Narwals here
15-15 HARYANA EQUALISE. The raider goes in a little too deep as Surender Nada draws him in and then they close in on him like hawks. Too easy for this defence. Sushant Sail is the substitute who has come in for Naveen.
15-14 Bonus for the Steelers. This is their window!
15-13 OH NO. Ashish tries to dash Naveen out of the mat but falls down in pain. Very worrying signs for Dabang Delhi as Naveen limps off to get some attention. He's getting his knee taped.
14-12 Manjeet Chhillar is in his zone and pulls down Vikash Kandola but it looks like there's some jersey pulling here. He gets a second green card. Remember, one more and he gets a yellow card which means time off the mat.
13-12 Just the bonus point for Naveen Kumar
12-12 Manjeet Chhillar does not know the meaning of Deela as Manjeet dashes Meetu out when he's trying to get a kick on someone. But wait, are the Delhi folks also completely out of the mat? Are Delhi losing points here? Replays look straight forward. Meetu gets a touch on Manjeet, we need to see which one came first and neither of the three angles we're being provided is entirely conslusive. Every camera angle has someone blocking the way. What will the TV umpire say? It looks like Meetu got a touch on Manjeet's jersey. REVIEW SUCCESSFUL. Meetu is out and Krishan Dhull is out too. Meetu is out because he was dashed and Krishan is off because both his feet seem to be up above the lobby. Rakesh Kumar wants more, he isn't being entertained and we continue after this long dramatic pause.
The coach's message to the Dabang Delhi team seems to be to protect Naveen, at the same time, be adventurous. "Deela nahin hona hai" don't wimp out, stick on and defend and keep Naveen on the mat.
HT: This score barely tells you the story of this half. A few quick points from the Delhi raiders gave them an initial lead but Haryana Steelers have done their homework and are prepared for every player crossing the mat into their half. The defence has looked refreshed today and Vikash Kandola too seems to be riding on a favourable patch in the PKL season. Naveen Kumar returned after injury - this after missing two games - and the starting troubles are amply evident. He has two successful raids in eight attempts. That's not a good sign. Add the fact that Joginder and Sandeep Narwal are missing in action today. The sun is clearly shining, can Haryana Steelers make their hay? Let's find out in the second half.
11-11 HOW STRONG IS JAIDEEP! He gets an anklehold on Vijay and it's like Vijay is stuck in cement. Props to the Steelers players who've come to his assistance.
11-10 Ashish gets a bonus point to bridge that gap a bit more.
11-9 Do or die raid for Ashu Malik and Surender Nada screams 'NO MERCY'. What a hold he gets on that thigh and has support from his teammates.
11-8 Ohh. Looks like the clapping helped as Vikash is brought down as he slips just a bit on the mat.
Manjeet Chhillar is given a green card for coaching during the raid and he denies saying he was clapping. Hehe, what a character is Manjeet!
Naveen has now spent nine minutes o the bench. That's an entire quarter.
10-8 This brings Naveen to the mat and Surender Nada is finally roaring here in the corner. He goes for that ankle hold and castles Naveen.
Back to the bench you go, Naveen!
10-7 Meetu goes in on a do or die raid and he runs the clock down without a point. Meetu wants to review but Surender Nada holds him back. THANK GOD. Haryana and its hasty reviews have really annoyed me as they have so many of you out there.
9-7 OH THIS HARYANA DEFENCE. FABULOUS JOB by Ravi Kumar as he gets ahead of Surender Nada's dash and gets an ankle hold. Meetu and Nada help him and block Naveen. He has been tackled for the third time tonight! One of the Haryana players, I am guessing it's Meetu, is getting a warning for holding the neck. No damage done.
Slender three point lead for Delhi with under nine minutes left in this half and they have Vijay to thank for this
9-6 Vintage Naveen as he slides past the bonus line to get a toe touch on Ashish.
8-6 My heart was in my mouth when Manjeet Chhillar gingerly walked towards Vikash. Aashu has got his back and comes in as the safety net and helps him block Vikash own there.
7-6 Acrobatic hand touch there from the Dabang Delhi raider on Jaideep Kuldeep. Not easy to get this man off the mat.
6-6 Haryana draws out an error from the right corner. Vikash dances around in front of Krishan and it seems enough to tempt him and draw out an error.
6-5 Ashish and Meetu have worked together and brought down Naveen on the right flank this time. Ashish dove to halt Naveen. This is brilliant work. This defence has done its homework. Naveen's second visit to the bench here.
6-4 Meetu takes out Vikash D. Error from the defender but then again its not easy replacing the likes of Joginder Narwal
6-3 Bonus for Haryana here but it's interesting how all of a sudden Delhi has gone ahead just a little. They'll want to hold on to that lead, especially given that the Narwals are missing in action for Delhi
5-2 Vijay gets a bonus plus a point - Ravi Kumar steps out and Delhi has two. Surender Nada quickly runs in pursuit giving Delhi no time and it looks like they've not been given anything
4-2 A bonus point for Dabang Delhi as well.
3-2 Krishan almost twists his hands around Vikash's legs and Jeeva comes in with the assist to bring Vikash Kandola down. Nice work.
2-2 Meetu Mahender has been one to watch out for and he proves why with a lovely toe touch on Manjeet Chhilar.
0-1NAVEEN IS BACK FOLKS and he is tackled out. My my. Steelers mean business and their left defence is up to the task.
Haryana Steelers: Vikash Kandola (c), Meetu, Ashish Narwal, Surender Nada, Jaideep, Mohit, Ravi Kumar
Dabang Delhi K.C.: Ashu Malik, Naveen Kumar, Manjeet Chillar (c), Vikash, Vijay Malik, Krishan Dhull, Jeeva Kumar
7:15pm: Head-to-head stats: In the eight matches that the two teams have played against each other, Haryana Steelers have emerged victorious six times while losing only twice.
7:05pm: On the other hand, Dabang Delhi, which at one point looked invincible, have been left shell-shocked after two consecutive defeats. First, Jaipur Pink Panthers beat them 30-28 in a close contest to stop their unbeaten run. Then, on Wednesday, Pawan Sehrawat's Bengaluru Bulls thrashed a Naveen Kumar-less Delhi team 61-22, the second biggest margin of defeat ever in PKL. Still, not all is lost for Delhi as they can climb up to second with a win over Haryana but for that, other players will have to step up and not just rely solely on Naveen's excellence.
6:55pm: Haryana Steelers come into this match after making an incredible comeback against UP Yoddha in the 36-36 tie on Wednesday. Skipper Vikash Kandola was at the centre of that performance with a season-high 17 points. Meetu supported him well and scored six points. In the defence, Jaideep and Surender Nada were impressive. Despite a big loss against Tamil Thalaivas, the team has been in decent form and will hope to climb further up on the points table against an under-confident Dabang Delhi K.C.
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 .
6:30pm: Hello folks! Welcome to our live coverage of the first game of the evening between Haryana Steelers and Dabang Delhi . Before we get to that, here are the results from the last three days -