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 U Mumba and Bengal Warriors.
SUMMARY: I am all for a good draw but tonight was not that. Bengal Warriors and U Mumba both came dealing with a dependency issue - U Mumba trying to distance itself from depending on Ajith Kumar who just returned from an injury layoff and Bengal Warriors not really trying to not depend on Maninder Singh who did 99 per cent of their raid scoring, getting to his eighth consecutive super 10 this season. Bengal has a tendency to falter at the end - I am not sure if it's a concentration issue or a nerves issue but this was another classic Bengal bottling. Bengal's defence is a plus today and they did all the reviving while U Mumba and Fazel have some soul searching to do about their defending and the aggression they tend to hold back.
Check out the match reports for day 25's fixtures here: Pro Kabaddi: Pardeep Narwal shines, Naveen injured again; wins for Dabang Delhi, UP Yoddha, U Mumba holds Bengal Warriors for 32-32 tie
32-32 And Bengal will not be able to squeeze a win here. What a waste. They had a five-point lead for such a large part of this game. And we have our eleventh tie of the season. All the heartburn for shared points.
32-32 Abhishek has levelled points with a touch on Nabibakhsh
32-31 U MUMBA CREEPS BACK INTO THIS GAME with a quick pursuit and touch. Bengal doing what Bengal does best. Wobble.
32-30 U Mumba gets Maninder off the mat to the bench. U Mumba follows the coach's orders. Rinku nearly lifts Mani off the mat literally.
32-29 Abhishek takes out Amit Narwal AGAIN. One of the most predictable parts of the game tonight.
32-28 If only I could show what Abozar Mighanis face looked like in this tackle. Nabibakhsh I think got a hold on Ajith's legs but Ajith looked dangerously like he was going to run away with a point. But Abozar is waiting to mow him down and he does so with a vengeance and he revives Maninder again!
Just a little over two minutes left.
31-28 Ran Singh with an error yet again. He goes for Abhishek Singh's ankles when there is no tackle there. U Mumba is asking for one more point here. We need to see why. The recap shows Ran Singh getting a touch on Abhishek's shoes. I don't see a second touch. What did Abhishek feel? Emotion getting the better of him again? But it's worth taking the chance. REVIEW UNSUCCESSFUL and
both teams have lost the review.
31-27 OOOF. Maninder Singh is out but not before Rahul Sethpal went out of bounds. So that made it a super tackle because it left three defenders on the mat. Fazel runs and takes Maninder out. In short, both teams get two points. WHAT A GAME THIS.
29-25 Ran Singh takes out Shivam. Ran Singh does not even have to try here but it looks like there's been a mistake. Ran Singh seems to have stepped out into the lobby. Ran Singh's foot seems to have gone on the lobby line before he got involved in the struggle.
SHIVAM MIGHT BE SAFE HERE and more importantly, BENGAL WILL LOSE A REVIEW. Umpire confirms!
Play for two points says Rajguru. Play for bonus plus point
Just under five minutes left.
29-24 Rinku comes in with a solo dash and Maninder uses him like some propelling board to bounce off him to the midline. This is too easy for the skipper.
28-24 Mohsen is tackled down. It's quite sad to see the Iranian fail given how he's trying to make something work in attack and defence! Real team player is Mohsen.
27-24 Oh that was so cool. Maninder rounded up the Red shirts into one corner like a sheep dog. This is so cool! Nothing comes off it but very impressive.
27-24 Amit Narwal makes up for a few earlier errors and catches Abhishek mid jump and pulls him down.
26-24 Fazel comes to play. He runs across and dashes the Bengal raider off the mat. Good start, he needs to keep it going.
26-23 Nabibakhsh is like the Warner to Abhishek's Broad. BUNNY!
I cannot bring myself to celebrate the fact that Maninder Singh has scored all 16 of Bengal Warriors' raid points. How is this okay? How is this sustainable? Maninder is brilliant, sure, but where is the support? Bengal Warriors is lucky to see him on the mat so much. The defence has been reviving him and are stepping up - that's the positive.
When Maninder comes deep, don't avoid him, says U Mumba's coach Rajguru. Let's see if U Mumba understands the assignment.
26-22 Ajith attacks that centre yet again but Abozar Mighani charges at him while Ajith has his back to him and it's just brutal. Both corners fold over Ajith and Abozar is smiling with a thumbs up! WOW .
25-22 Maninder multipoint-raid Singh!!! Rinku and Mohsen Maghsoudlou taken out. Abozar is delighted as Maninder finds his way back home with goodies!
23-22 Ajith runs from left to right and picks up Ran Singh in the process. Ajith's speed is ridiculous. Tamil Thalaivas underutilised a gem!
23-21 It's delightful to see hw Maninder's bonuses are coming from under Fazel's nose.
This game is closer than it should be!
22-21 Abhishek Singh targets a weak-link - Amit Narwal. Running hand touch. Easy peasy!
22-20 Maninder is confident of getting the bonus, gets it, gets out.
21-20 Abhishek draws out Nabibakshsh again and takes him out. Nabibakhsh does not need to break the chain for raids like this. Whatever happened to waiting it out, Bengal?
21-19 Abozar Mighani thumps out Ajith. He needs to rally this defence, Abozar.
20-19 Mani takes out Rinku. This is an interesting raid. He goes in as if going for the Dubki but he falls right on his back and takes Rinku with him. Very smart from the skipper
19-19 Ajith takes out Amit who comes in for an advanced tackle.
19-18 Ajith follows orders. Gets the bonus. It is how Mumbai has stayed alive in this game and that will continue.
GO FOR THE BONUS IF YOU'VE DECIDED, SAYS FAZEL.
HALFTIME: Let's rename this clash THE MANINDER SHOW. That's just what it's been. 36 points scored today and Maninder has scored 11 of those. Nearly 1/3rd. That's crazy. Also impressive is Ran Singh whose comeback has seen him find a lot of fortune. Class is permanent and Ran Singh shows us that in the flesh. U Mumba has been patchy but has shown promise in defence. Abhishek and Ajith need to counter Mani and use some of Bengal's frailties and Fazel NEEDS to stop hesitating and just go for those tackles.
19-17 Warriors don't like that they've taken out their skipper. Nabibakhsh thumps Abhishek Singh off the mat to bring Maninder back on the mat.
18-17 Maninder comes in on a do-or-die raid yet again. And he almost repeats the super raid episode all over again but they turn him around just in time to bring him down. Five men needed to take down this man. Story self told.
18-16 Bengal Warriors allow Abhishek Singh a bonus point
18-15 Rahul Sethpal gets the bonus but won't escape Ran Singh this time as he gets a hold around his chest and turns him around.
15-14 Maninder corners the two defenders to one side and takes out one defender leaving just Sethpal on the mat.
14-14 OH IT WAS AN ALL OUT. ALMOST. BUT RAN SINGH HAS STEPPED OUT. LOST OPPORTUNITY. Rahul Sethpal survives. Bonus plus one point for Rahul.
14-12 Maninder takes out Mohsen to reach his SUPER 10! What a player this man.
13-12 Rahul Sethpal gets a toe touch on Ran Singh.
13-10 Captain takes out captain. Maninder pushes Fazel to the corner and induces an error as Fazel steps out. Mani immediately looks at the official but Fazel does not think he has him, but Fazel touches Mani anyway and he is smart to walk back and take the point eitherway!
12-10 Ooof wow. Abhishek needs a point as he comes in on a do or die raid and it needs five burly Warriors to take him down.
Bengal Warriors has nine raid points at this point - all nine taken by Maninder. Talk about dependence.
11-10 Nabibakhsh comes in to raid and substitute Rahul Sethpal gets a double thigh hold on Nabibakhsh with support coming in from Fazel. Fazel gives Nabibakhsh a little hair ruffle. Lovely camaraderie this!
11-8 Abhishek Singh could have been allowed to fish for points but Darshan J's advanced tackle again ruins the good work for Bengal Warriors as it helps bring Fazel to the mat.
11-6 Rinku would have wanted to recreate his Patna Pirates heroics vs Mani but it's not happening. His dash finds Mani quite close to the midline. U Mumba down to one man.
10-6 That super raid has fired up Bengal as they dash out Ajith. Don't kill our buzz, Ajith.
9-6 MANINDER AND SUPER RAID - FIND A BETTER LOVE STORY THAN THIS. WHAT A RAIDER, IS MANINDER. FOUR POINTS. MY WORD. Fazel goes for the ankle hold, he slips past him and three others and rises signalling four! He gets what he wants.
5-6 Abhishek is swift and fends off Darshan to take a point and bring his captain back to the mat.
5-5 Fazel's hesitation finds him stuck there near the midline and Maninder is happy to get a touch and send him off
4-5 Ajith likes AKash Pikalmunde and how he shows his affection is by always finding him on the mat. Another running hand touch and Akash is given some time to rest on the bench
4-4 Maninder Singh picks up a bonus from under Fazel Atrachali's nose. It doesn't feel natural to see Fazel hold back on tackles. How long must be wait for a Fazel attack?
3-4 Abhishek Singh pulls out Nabibakhsh. But Abhishek is too strong to be held down at this part of the mat and easily taps the midline.
3-3 Maninder runs and runs and tempts Rinku out to draw a touch.
2-3 Amit Narwal has had a hot and cold season so far but this was blazing hot and Ajith gets the burn. He holds his legs down while Abozar and Co. finish the job. Ajith to the bench.
1-3 Ajith takes out Akash Pikalmunde with a running hand touch. Oh how I've missed Ajith and his perfect precise raids!
1-2 Bonus taken. Pressure of the do or die raid got Maninder. He goes too deep and then tries to sort of dubki his way out but dives right into the circle of red shirts. Vicious!
0-1 Abhishek gets going with a bonus point
0-0 Maninder Singh gets things going with an empty raid and will be followed by Abhishek Singh who will be a relieved man. Why shouldn't he be, his partner Ajith is back!
U Mumba: Abhishek Singh, Ajith Kumar, Harendra Kumar, Rinku, Fazel, Ashish, Mohsen Maghsoudlou
Bengal Warriors: Maninder Singh, Akash Pikalmunde, Amit Narwal, Darshan J, Abozar Mighani, Nabibakhsh, Ran Singh
We're looking at the last game of day 25 and I know you all probably know the rules better than I do at this point but here's a refresher nevertheless.
9:45pm:U Mumba is placed sixth. Bengal Warriors is placed ninth. The former has three wins, three losses and three ties in nine games while Maninder's Warriors have four wins and five losses in their nine games. Both have seen meteoric wins and devastating defeats and will face each other in what is really a test of character. I am personally looking forward to the Fazel Atrachali vs Mohammad Nabibakhsh parallel. The Iranians are aces in their respective roles and this match-up is as mouth-watering as the Fazel-Chiyaneh face off.
9:40pm: We're having a delayed start here today thanks to the injury hold up we had in that first game between Delhi and Haryana. We will begin the final game of the night in a few minutes. Stay with us! Until then, check out our interview with the Sultan himself - Fazel Atrachali
9.30pm: Ajith Kumar has been spotted in training. This is big news for U Mumba and their fortunes against an aggressive Bengal Warriors unit.
9:20pm: Bengal Warriors comes into this game after a confidence-boosting win over Tamil Thalaivas while U Mumba comes into this game after a massive drubbing in the Maharashtra derby at the hands of Puneri Paltan. Interesting fortunes for two teams who have the strength to be in the top five. Let's look at their forms now.
9:10pm: Earlier this evening, Dabang Delhi managed a last-minute win against Haryana Steelers. Here are the highlights:
Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Dabang Delhi pulls off last minute win over Haryana Steelers, Naveen injured again
9:05pm: As we wait for this game to begin, check out another interesting encounter between Telugu Titans and UP Yoddha live here: Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: U.P. Yoddha win 39-33 against Telugu Titans, Super 10 for Pardeep Narwal
9:00pm: Hello folks! Welcome to our live coverage of the third game of the evening between U Mumba and Bengal Warriors. Before we get to that, here are the results from the last three days -