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 Tamil Thalaivas and Jaipur Pink Panthers.
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Summary: So much to unpack in this game. It was a battle of defenders for most parts of this game with Jaipur going into the first half with a slender lead. However, Manjeet and then Ajinkya came to the party, slowly bringing the Thalaivas back into the lead with about three minutes left. It is there that it seemed like the Panthers had planned to at the very least restrict the Thalaivas to a draw as they placed their faith in their ability to pull off the super tackle. Drama in the very last raid with no reviews left for either side saw Panthers manage the super tackle and draw level to end the first game with our 12th tie of the season.
The second match of the night has almost begun and sees Patna Pirates take on the Bengaluru Bulls - the best defence vs the best raider of the season. Follow: Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Patna Pirates beat table toppers Bengaluru Bulls 38-31, Super 10 for Pawan Sehrawat
31-31 LAST SECOND DRAMA. Naveen came in for a short raid and went back to draw a do-or-die raid for Thalaivas. Panthers have three on the mat and are playing on the super tackle. Manjeet runs in and thinks he has a touch on Sahul Kumar and runs into the lobby. He is hitting his thigh but the referee has given two points to the defence as they think that touch did not happen. Ooh Manjeet is furious but no one can do anything because both sides used up their reviews for the night.
We have the 12th draw of PKL 8 as a result. Sigh.
29-31 Thalaivas were happy to play the waiting game and Sagar dives for Arjun and brings him down while the other blue shirts flock around to finish the tackle.
29-30 AND THEY'VE DONE IT. THREE COMBINE TO GET THE SUPER TACKLE. Ajinkya Pawar stays away from Naveen as his coach says but forgets Sahul and the other defender is there.
PLEASE NO DRAW. *Manifesting*
Sandeep Dhull in that timeout said they dont want to play safe and will go for the super tackle as they can bring down that lead almost instantly. Can they? Let's see. Under three minutes to go.
27-30 Thalaivas have allowed a bonus to Naveen
26-30 Ajinkya Pawar has done something brilliant here and has bulldozed his way to get a touch on the right corner and one from the chain on the left. He runs and turns and tumbles to the midline. Presence of mind
BONUS DENA NAHIN, says coach Udaykumar. Do not give the bonus. The instruction could not be clearer. Take the attack to them, he says.
26-28 Deepak is brought down by Surjeet as Sahil comes in with the assist to close him out. What a see saw this game has been so far.
26-27 Manjeet comes in on a do-or-die raid and a wave of Panthers led by Naveen have taken him down. Naveen holds his leg and Amit handles the torso. They've been warned for dangerous play.
25-27 Arjun Deshwal is taken off the mat but because Mohit followed him, it's a point each to both teams
24-26 Manjeet picks up two and very aggressively so. Sandeep Dhull and Sahul Kumar are off to the bench. Sahul on the block and Sandeep on the side as he makes it past the midline. Jaipur reviews this decision, saying only one point has been conceded. Review shows a clear second touch on Dhull's knee. REVIEW UNSUCCESSFUL. Both teams have no review left now. Parity.
24-24 Tit for tat! Deepak Niwas Hooda isn't even being allowed to settle into the half as he's blocked and brought down in the middle of the Thalaivas half.
24-23 A similar point seems to play out as Ajinkya is held from the back too but he is not strong enough to push the defender back and the rest of the Panthers band together to keep him off that midline.
23-23 Why is Sagar so high up in defence? He's pushed back across the line again
22-23 Bonus for Ajinkua Pawar
22-22 A block from Sagar. A turn from Pawar. Everyone wanted a say in this tackle. Deepak is sent off with a team effort
22-21 HI FIVE FOR SANDEEP DHULL. What a way to come back to form as he takes out Bhavani Rajput on a do or die raid for the Thalaivas.
21-21 Arjun picks up another bonus point and given the empty raids Thalaivas have put in, the scores are level again
20-21 Bonus for Jaipur
19-21 Surjeet is taken out and he is so unhappy. Deepak Niwas Hooda seems to have a touch on his fingers. Livid as he walks off before giving the Panthers an earful.
18-21 MANJEET HAS CLEANED OUT THREE PLAYERS AND INFLICTED AN ALL OUT. WHAT AN EFFORT HERE! He gets a touch on the left corner and tries to run back, two defenders jump at him and he's cleaned up the Panthers half.
18-16 Arjun picks up a bonus point. Smart work. And Arjun walks off for a defender as the super tackle is active for the Panthers.
17-16 Bhavani Rajput has done so well and used his heights and mat knowledge to take out Sandeep Dhull and Sahul Kumar who tried to dash him out. Good job!
17-14 Thalaivas chain working well. They catch Deepak Niwas Hooda mid dive and push him back. Lovely work.
And that's half time: It's been a game of defensive superiority as the raiders have had a quiet first half. After starting strong, Tamil Thalaivas have lost the plot a bit. Prapanjan has picked up a seemingly serious injury as he walked off after a tackle holding his right arm in immense pain. We hope he's okay and will bring you details as soon we know. The defence on both sides have been good and it will come down to not letting unforced errors get the better of them and play a high line of defence to restrict the opponent. Manjeet is the only raider left who seems to finding gaps and picking points. He will be key to the Thalaivas fortunes. Arjun Deshwal has been quiet today but if Deepak Niwas Hooda can keep at what he's been doing, he will be able to pick up points.
17-13 Manjeet takes out Amit. Suddenly, a flurry of raid points. Defenders are tiring out a bit given 80 per cent of this first half has been about them.
17-12 Mohit is taken out. Evident weak links
16-12 We've started the next raid so I can't see who Manjeet has picked out but one more point for the Thalaivas
16-11 Deepak Niwas Hooda picks up a bonus.
15-11 Thalaivas get the bonus but Surjeet is tackled. He was the last man standing. ALL OUT- TAMIL THALAIVAS.
12-10 Mohit falls for the trap Deepak Niwas Hooda sets for Surjeet. Surjeet keeps his temperament and stays calm but inexperience costs Mohit.
11-10 Early review in this game. Ajinkya Pawar thinks he has a touch point here when not given one originally. The replay doesn't seem to help get a clear view of his running hand touch and the REVIEW IS UNSUCCESSFUL. Wastage of reviews is hard to watch.
11-10THIS IS A BIZARRE POINT. Surjeet solo tackles Arjun Deshwal but gets no help from Sahil. It's not immediately apparent why (he's stepped into the lobby) and Surjeet is pulling and pulling and the effort pays off when the whistle blows.
10-8 Sandeep Dhull takes out Himanshu with a rock solid thigh hold
9-8 Naveen reverses and takes Sagar with him to the midline. What happened there? His block had no balance. Naveen looks annoyed but should be happy with this point. Thalaivas down to three men though.
8-8 Trading blows at this stage as Bhavani Rajput is held by the waist and turned like a spanner before drowning in that Panthers defence. Sahul Kumar in hot form here.
7-8 Arjun Deshwal has been quiet and he remains so after Surjeet dives to take him down.
7-7 Manjeet is looking a little out of sorts as Naveen pulls Manjeet's leg down before the team swarms on the tall Thalaivas raider.
6-7 How imperious has Sagar been? He gets a hold on Deepak Niwas Hooda's left leg having crouched low and pulls him back with some help from his teammates.
6-6 Ajinkya Pawar goes in for a do or die raid and falls to Sandeep Dhull as he gets his arms around Pawar's waist and thighs to stop him in his tracks
5-6 Sahil has stepped into the lobby. Elementary errors here. Deepak had gone back empty handed but Panthers get a point
4-6 Too easy for the Thalaivas as they hold the Panthers raider on the right flank. What I am more interested in is trying to get visuals on Prapanjan. Ajinkya Pawar has taken his place on the mat.
4-5 Sandeep Dhull dives in for an anklehold on Manjeet and successfully keeps him away from the midline with some help from a few other pink shirts.
3-5 Amit initiates the tackle on Prapanjan as three defenders come in to hold Prapanjan back. But we hear the referee call foul play and medics are here to help Prapanjan as he holds his arm and walks off.
2-5 Arjun Deshwal comes in for a do-or-die raid and is a situation he enjoys but he's been pulled back and thumped on the mat. Show of strength from the Thalaivas.
2-4 A point each for both teams as Manjeet enters the lobby without a touch, but Naveen the defender also follows him into the lobby. Manjeet on the bench
1-3 Surjeet falters and goes for the advanced dash. Arjun just has to reach for the line. He is livid with that error, is Surjeet.
0-3 Oof. Manjeet almost jabs Sandeep Dhull in that left corner.
0-2 Prapanjan picksup his first point and its the left cover defender going off now. Vishal walks to the bench
0-1 Too easy for Manjeet. Jaipur's brittle covers fall early. Amit goes for a feeble tackle on Manjeet a little too close to the midline and Manjeet is tall enough to reach the midline with no extra effort needed.
The broadcasters have mentioned that Surjeet Singh became a father yesterday! Big congratulations to the Thalaivas skipper and can't imagine being in a bubble and on duty at an occasion like this. All the more reason to fight for the win though!
Tamil Thalaivas: Manjeet, Surjeet Singh, Mohit, Bhavani Rajput, K Prapanjan, Sagar, Sahil Singh
Jaipur Pink Panthers: Arjun Deshwal, Amit, Vishal, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Naveen, Sahul Kumar, Sandeep Dhull
7PM: India has been dealing with some massive captaincy changes in the past 24-odd overs with Virat Kohli stepping down as the skipper in the longest format of the game. While the overall sense is that this will give him the time and mental strength to focus solely on his batting and maybe get the 71st century ticked off for starters, he has a stellar example of why this is a decision that might work out in Deepak Niwas Hooda. Deepak gave up the captaincy of the Panthers to Sandeep Dhull and I have to say this this working out well for the Indian veteran with this purple patch for Panthers largely being orchestrated by him.
6:55PM: Tamil Thalaivas are an interesting bunch and have scripted a story starkly different from their campaign last season. From languishing at the bottom of the table in PKL 7 to giving the strongest of teams a massive challenge, this is an impressive unit to watch on the mat. Thalaivas had a six-match unbeaten streak broken by the Bengal Warriors in their most recent fixture and will come into this game licking its wounds. The team is placed seventh now as things stand and will hope to stick around in that top five and one way of doing that is by beating the Panthers tonight. Can they? Will they? You'll know when we do.
6:50PM: Another helpful reminder of the rules. If you need it!
6:45PM: The sun is shining bright on the Jaipur Pink Panthers right now as they have gone three games now without a loss (not trying to jinx it, promise) and these are not tiny wins, mind you. They most recently beat Patna Pirates by nine points, beat Dabang Delhi by two points before that and thrashed Puneri Paltan five points before that. Jaipur is currently placed fifth and if this form continues, they could just stick it out and make the playoffs.
6:30PM: Hello folks! Welcome to our live coverage of the first game of the evening between Tamil Thalaivas and Jaipur Pink Panthers.
Before that, here's a recap of what happened in the Pro Kabaddi League yesterday: Pro Kabaddi: Pardeep Narwal shines, Naveen injured again; wins for Dabang Delhi, UP Yoddha, U Mumba holds Bengal Warriors for 32-32 tie