In a much-anticipated southern derby rematch of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5, debutants Tamil Thalaivas halted the charge of Bengaluru Bulls and scored their maiden victory of the season. The Thalaivas had to fight hard but managed to keep their cool and return with a 29-24 win in the final match at the Mankapur Indoor Stadium in Nagpur on Thursday. Rohit Kumar (12 points) and Ravinder Pahal (4 points) tried to keep the Bulls in the match till the closing seconds but failed to find support from the rest of the team and had to end up on the losing side.

As the match began, both teams played cautiously, not willing to give away any early points. They attacked mainly in do-or-die raids which resulted in a 3-3 score line till as late as the 7th minute. The scores stayed equal but Bengaluru Bulls kept taking out the Tamil Thalaivas players as Rohit shone in his raids. It looked like the Thalaivas would face a first half All-Out before D. Pradap, the only Thalaivas player left on the mat, rose to the occasion and prevented it by raiding successfully. He and C. Arun then super tackled Rohit to put the pressure back on the Bulls.

Bengaluru Bulls played smart in order to affect a last-second do-or-die raid in the first half but Dong Geon Lee raided successfully for the Thalaivas and that brought the Bulls on the brink of an All-Out. The teams went into the break with the score reading 12-8 in favour of Tamil Thalaivas.

Bengaluru Bulls couldn’t prevent the All-Out in the second half and conceded a 16-9 advantage to Tamil Thalaivas. However, once the entire Bengaluru Bulls team was back on the mat, the game got tense. Rohit led the charge and raced to another Super 10, finally inflicting an All-Out in the process.

The Bulls could smell blood in the 12th minute as they trailed only by 2 points with a 21-19 score line. However, neither team took up the challenge of going in for the kill and played safe, only trying to score bonus points instead of going for touch points. The scores could have been levelled in the 19th minute but a successful Tamil Thalaivas review meant that they retained their slender lead. With the score at 28-24 in the closing seconds and Ajay Kumar on the attack, the Bulls hoped for another miracle from the young raider but it was not to be. He got dashed out in a strong defensive effort and the home team ended their leg with a 29-24 loss.

Check out our snapshots from this match here.