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 Haryana Steelers and Puneri Paltan.
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The second match of the evening between Telugu Titans and Jaipur Pink Panthers has started and is being covered by my colleague Lavanya Lakshminarayanan. Can the Titans get their first win of the season today? To find out, follow our live coverage here: Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Telugu Titans beat Jaipur Pink Panthers for first win of season
Summary: Coach Rakesh Kumar's Haryana Steelers had won both games against his friend Anup Kumar's Puneri Paltan last season. Today, a defensive masterclass has made sure that that streak will stay for some time. Haryana's defenders, Jaideep (7 tackle points) and Mohit (7 tackle points) both had High Fives. The rest was taken care of by captain Vikash Kandola who had eight raid points. For the Paltan, this was a rare game where in-form raider Aslam Inamdar failed. Other raiders Vishwas S (7 raid points) and Nitin Tomar (5 raid points) tried to cover up for the youngster who had an off day but unfortunately, it was not enough. With this win, Haryana Steelers stay at ninth but the gap between them and fourth-placed U.P. Yoddha is just four points. Puneri Paltan picked one point since they lost by seven points and remain on eleventh.
37-30: Final raid of the match and it is Vinay who returns with a touch off Abinesh. Haryana Steelers beat Puneri Paltan 37-30!!!
36-30: Solo tackle by Jaideep on Vishwas near the mid-line but the raider somehow manages to get his foot across the line. However, I'm afraid that 30 something seconds to go, this is a little too late.
36-29: Another self-out, ugh. Ravi Kumar got hold of Vishwas' ankle but before that, he had already stepped out of bounds.
36-28: Surender, you clever man. The Haryana defender tackled Aslam on his own. However, Aslam had already got his hand across the line but he didn't leave him in order to waste some time, The official recognises that and issues him a green card.
36-27: Do-or-die raid for Vikash but the in-form man does not escape from Karamvir's strong hold.
36-26: Seventh tackle point for Mohit who executes a massive ankle hold on Vishwas.
35-26: Aslam is off the mat. Mohit does not miss the tackle this time.
34-26: Dependable Vishwas delivers again. Ashish Narwal is eager to score some more points but I guess he could have avoided this.
Final strategic time out. Five minutes to go. Paltan's offense needs to do better in order to fight back from here.
34-25: Sub Ashish Narwal in for his first raid of the night, gets a bonus and fights Abinesh's dash while on his way back. Crucial two points.
32-25: Aslam gets another. This time it was Meetu from the left who went for the ankle hold but Aslam was just too quick for him.
32-24: Excellent block by Sanket on Vikash Kandola. Are we onto something here?
32-23: Jaideep is not going to miss anything today, is he? Powerful dash to throw Vishwas off the mat.
31-23: FINALLY! Aslam gets a point as Surender tried to dash him off unsuccessfully.
31-22: Nicely done Abinesh! Full strength on the mat and he throws Meetu off the mat.
31-21: ALL OUT!!! Second one of the game. Vishwas S picked up a bonus but the Haryana defense has been brilliant today.
28-20: Two touch points for Vikash! Super tackle was on, Sanket Sawant went in for Vikash's ankle, Nitin Tomar came in for the assist but Vikash was close to the mid-line and got home safely.
26-20: Vishwas S picks up a bonus. He has stepped up nicely when Aslam has failed.
Strategic time out. Ten minutes left in the game and Puneri Paltan, which started slowly in the second half, is now making a comeback.
26-19: I don't know what's wrong with Aslam today but everything step he is taking is proving wrong today. Meetu was in for the do-or-die raid, desperate for a point, but he didn't had to do much as Aslam stepped out of bounds on his own.
25-19: Another point for Vishwas as he jumps over Ravi who tries to catch him mid-flight.
25-17: Vikash Kandola with a brilliant running hand touch on Vishal on the left corner.
24-17: A rare error on what has been a successful night for Mohit as he gets drawn into a tackle on Vishwas S and ends up giving him a touch point easily.
23-16: And the self-outs are just not stopping. Rohit Gulia came in for the raid, failed to get his back kick touch the defender at right corner and stepped out of bounds. However, Abinesh and Sanket didn't know that and they went to push him off the mat inflicting self-outs. The official had initially said one defender was out but Haryana took the review and managed to send one more off.
20-14: Aslam is desperate for a point here as he tries a rather hopeful ankle hold on Rohit Gulia but it's of no use.
19-14: ALL OUT!!! Pankaj Mohite had been subbed in for the raid but it's been that sort of a night for him. No bonus and he gets tackled.
16-14: Great work from Vikash as he gets a touch on Sombir on the right corner and reduces Puneri Paltan to a single player on the mat.
15-14: Puneri Paltan subbed in Kenyan raider Victor Obiero but he can't do much as Jaideep takes him down and completes his HIGH FIVE.
This is a nicely poised contest at the moment. Haryana defense has done an incredible job in keeping Aslam Inamdar quiet but not so much when it is Nitin Tomar. Also, they have gifted the Paltan some easy points with self-outs and would hope to be more careful in the second half.
HALF-TIME: Haryana Steelers 14-14 Puneri Paltan
14-14: Last raid of the first half and it is a do-or-die one for Nitin Tomar. He can't walk back without a point. He goes a little too deep on the right corner and Ravi Kumar had no hesitation in goes for his left ankle. And that's half-time!
13-14: SUPER TACKLE!!! This time the Paltan defense was waiting for Meetu to come a little deeper and then went all in. What a topsy-turvy match this has been!
13-12: Bonus for Nitin Tomar. That was quick.
13-11: Meetu gets a touch point off Abinesh.
12-11: Eighth tackle point for Haryana. Vishwas S had been subbed in for the do-or-die raid but Jaideep got hold of his ankle and that was that.
11-11: Nitin Tomar is in action once again but this time as a defender as he pushes Vikash Kandola off the mat. All-rounder.
11-10: Mohit is on fire today! The defender has taken down Aslam Inamdar this time.
10-10: Scores level once again. Rohit Gulai first tried to hold Nitin Tomar back at the right corner, Nitin escaped that and while returning, got a touch on Surender too.
10-8: And now Vishal is off. Another successful raid from Vikash as Vishal went for his ankle but didn't get it.
9-8: Pankaj Mohite walks back to the bench once again. Haryana has turned this around quite quickly.
8-8: Sanket Sawant fails for the first time tonight as he tries to go for an unnecessary tackle on Vikash but the Haryana raider was too close to the mid-line.
7-8: SUPER TACKLE!!! Aslam has been held back strongly and successfully by Mohit. However, Ravi Kumar at right corner had stepped out of bounds gifting a point to the Paltan. Puneri Paltan has reviewed saying that Ravi was a part of the struggle but the decision goes against them.
5-7: Do-or-die raid, Meetu took the responsibility but didn't deliver as Vishal on the left corner went for his legs and the others came in for the assist on time.
5-6: Geez. Aslam came in for the raid, didn't get a touch but the pressure he created forced Surender Nada to step out of bounds on his own.
5-5: Wow! Great arm hold by Mohit sends Mohite to the bench.
4-5: Sanket Sawant with a brilliant dash pushes Rohit Gulia off the mat.
4-3: Excellent toe touch by Nitin Tomar on Ravi Kumar. You do expect Anup Kumar's players to be especially good in that skill, don't you?
3-2: Weak solo tackle by Sombir on Meetu. No problem for Meetu to escape and go across the mid-line.
2-2: Mohit tackles Pankaj Mohite but unfortunately, he himself went off the mat as well. One point each.
1-1: Vikash Kandola came in, tried for the bonus on the right corner baiting Aslam who went for the ankle hold and gave away a touch point.
0-1: Aslam Inamdar goes in for the opening raid and straightaway gets a running hand touch on Jaideep.
TOSS - Haryana Steelers won the toss. Puneri Paltan to raid first.
Haryana Steelers: Vikash Kandola (c), Meetu Sharma, Rohit Gulia, Surender Nada, Jaideep Dahiya, Mohit Nandal, Ravi Kumar
Subs: Vikash Jaglan, Ashish, Mohammad Mahalli, Vinay, Akshay
Puneri Paltan: Nitin Tomar (c), Pankaj Mohite, Abinesh Nadarajan, Sanket Sawant, Aslam Inamdar, Sombir, Vishal Bharadwaj
Subs: Baldev Singh, Hadi Tajik, Vishwas S, Karamvir, Victor Obiero
7:15PM: Head-to-head stats: Matches played - 8, Matches won by Haryana Steelers 3, Matches won by Puneri Paltan - 5
7:05PM: Eleventh-placed Puneri Paltan have had a much better run recently. They have three wins and two losses in their last five games. Their latest match was an epic high-scoring one against U.P. Yoddha in which Anup Kumar's men lost 50-40. Raiders Mohit Goyat (13 points) and Aslam Inamdar (16 points) were outstanding on a night when the defenders of both teams were struggling. Against Haryana, defenders Sanket Sawant and Vishal Bharadwaj will look to stay much more disciplined in order to keep the Paltan's resurgence going.
6:55PM: Haryana Steelers come into this match desperately needing a win. Vikash Kandola's men have only one win, two ties and two losses in their last five matches, the latest being a close 28-25 defeat at the hand of Dabang Delhi K.C., and are placed at the ninth spot. The raiders certainly had an off night against Delhi with skipper Vikash picking just three raid points. Haryana would look to improve on that front against a Puneri Paltan defense who had a horrible night in their last game.
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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 Haryana Steelers and Puneri Paltan. Before we get to that, here are the results from the last three days -