A last-second blunder from experienced defender Ravinder Pahal allowed Dabang Delhi’s Naveen Kumar to secure a raid point and hold Gujarat Lions to 24-24 tie in the Pro Kabaddi League here on Sunday.
Delhi’s star raider once again secured a Super 10 (11 points), his third in three matches of Season 8 – but the team was lucky to escape with a tie after another match filled with mistakes from its defence.
Gujarat will only have themselves to blame after Rakesh Sanrogya and Rakesh Narwal had opened up a chance for them to win the encounter against Season-7 runners-up.
Despite the focus on Gujarat’s defence, it was the raiders who secured most points for the Giants in a closely fought first half.
Rakesh Narwal and Rakesh Sanrogya picked easy points of the Delhi defence who once again gave starts to seniors Ajay Thakur and Manjeet Chhillar despite very little contributions from them in the previous matches.
Delhi’s Naveen Kumar ensured the Gujarat Giants didn’t open up any lead, picking three points from his first three raids while sending the covers Girish Ernak and Ravinder Pahal to the dugout.
The first 15 minutes only saw 1 successful tackle, each from both sides. There were no ALL OUTS in the first half as it ended 12-11 in favour of Dabang Delhi KC.
The teams continued to trade blows in the early minutes of the second half. Gujarat had no answers to Naveen Kumar’s raids but Delhi’s defence kept imploding thanks to unsuccessful tackles from Manjeet Chhillar and Jeeva Kumar. Naveen clinched his Super 10, three in three matches of Season 8, in the 5th minute of the half.
The Gujarat defence finally managed to get Naveen Kumar out with less than 10 minutes in the clock. Brilliant raiding by Rakesh Sanrogya and Rakesh Narwal kept the Giants in pace with Delhi.
But Vijay quickly managed to revive Naveen Kumar with a touch point and followed it up with an effective charge on Rakesh to give Delhi a slender lead in the 14th minute of the second half.
Rakesh’s effective kick had given Gujarat a one-point lead going into the last raid but a blunder from Ravinder Pahal, who went in for an early thigh hold on Naveen Kumar, handed Delhi a tie.
The results: Gujarat Lions 24 tied with Dabang Delhi 24; Bengaluru Bulls 36 bt Bengal Warriors 35.
Today’s matches: Tamil Thalaivas vs U Mumba, 7.30 p.m.; U.P. Yoddha vs Jaipur Pink Panthers, 8.30 p.m.