With Dabang Delhi K.C. inspired after winning their first match against Jaipur Pink Panthers, Gujarat Fortunegiants were up against a confident side in their first ever VIVO Pro Kabaddi game at Hyderabad’s Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Tuesday evening. The match also featured the star players from Iran taking on each other - Meraj Sheykh and Abolfazl Maghsodlou for Delhi, and Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani for Gujarat.
Captain Sukesh Hegde of Gujarat Fortunegiants won the toss and chose his team’s side of the court. Abolfazl initiated the first raid for Delhi and Hegde for Gujarat but they both were empty raids. Gujarat earned their first ever VIVO Pro Kabaddi point in the 2nd minute when the defenders tackled Sheykh and sent him out of play. The first point for Delhi came as late as in the 6th minute when Delhi tackled Sachin off the mat.
A series of do-or-die raids followed, with Gujarat dominating the proceedings. As Delhi found it hard to hold their ground, their coach made three substitutions in the first half itself. Dabang Delhi K.C. went into defensive mode in the latter part of the half with Nilesh Shinde coming in to raid only to kill time and focus on winning points through tackles. Just at the stroke of halftime, Gujarat pulled an All-Out on Dabang Delhi K.C. and finished the first half with a 10-point lead at 15-5. The most talked-about event of the half was the fact that Sheykh spent 13 minutes 41 seconds out of court in those 20 minutes.
The second half started with a bang for Gujarat as Rakesh Narwal went in to raid and managed to take out Shinde in the very first attempt. Again after a series of do-or-die raids later, Atrachali led Delhi’s second All-Out when he tackled Shinde off the mat in the 31st minute. From the 34th minute onwards, Delhi started to narrow the 16-point gap. Anand Patil took out both the star Iranian defenders in one single raid whereas R. Sriram kept on winning one raid point after another. In the 39th minute, Delhi managed to All-Out Gujarat by taking out their last man, but it came too late in the day as they ended up losing the contest 26-20.