A sensational Super Raid from Pradeep Kumar and a clutch tackle from Sunil Kumar saw the Gujarat Giants beat the Tamil Thalaivas 37-35 in thrilling fashion. Due to this win, the Giants are now only five points behind fourth-placed U.P. Yoddha on the vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8 points table.
The Giants got off to a hot start, courtesy of their defence and Rakesh Narwal’s three raid points. The Thalaivas were reduced to three, but their defence came to their rescue, as they Super Tackled Narwal to cut the deficit to one.
Ajinkya Pawar and Sagar added to the Thalaivas’ total as they embarked on a 5-0 run that saw them take the lead. The Giants responded to the Thalaivas’ surge with a 3-1 run, courtesy of a tackle point from their defence and a touch point from Mahendra Rajput and Rakesh. Manjeet, the last Thalaivas player on the mat, went in and managed to pick the bonus before being swarmed by the Giants defence, which inflicted an All Out and gave Gujarat a 15-12 lead.
Both teams added a couple of points to their total before the end of the half, as they went into the break with the Giants leading 17-14.
The Thalaivas were the aggressors early in the second half but were matched point-for-point by the Giants, as the gap between the two sides on the scoreboard remained three. Gujarat then extended their lead to five, courtesy of a brilliant tackle from skipper Sunil Kumar and a touch point from Rajput.
Sagar’s tackle on Rakesh and a two-point raid from Manjeet saw the Thalaivas cut the deficit to just two and reduce the Giants to just two players on the mat. The Thalaivas’ Left Corner then pulled off the tackle of the night, single-handedly taking down Rajput with a Thigh Hold to cut the Giants’ lead to one.
In the subsequent raid, Manjeet escaped a tackle attempt before tagging the other defender en route to the midline to inflict an All Out on the Giants and give the Thalaivas a three-point lead. The Thalaivas defence added two more points to their team’s total, and Pawar managed to escape a tackle attempt from Parvesh Bhainswal as the Thalaivas’ lead ballooned to six.
The Giants needed a big raid to mount a comeback, and Rakesh delivered, as he picked up two touch points to cut the deficit to four. Coach Manpreet Singh then subbed in raider Pradeep Kumar, and the young raider delivered a three-point Super Raid that saw the Thalaivas’ lead diminish to a solitary point and reduce them to just two players on the mat.
Manjeet picked up a bonus, and Pradeep responded with a touch point, as the difference between the two sides remained a solitary point, but the Thalaivas were down to their last player on the mat. Manjeet picked up the bonus without much resistance and then entered the lobby after claiming a touch on Rajput.
But the referees ruled against the Thalaivas raider, rendering him out and thereby handing the Giants one point for the self-out and two for the All Out, which saw them take the lead. With only 29 seconds left, the Thalaivas defence stationed themselves at the baulk line against Rajput. The raider tried to get a touch point with a Kick but was promptly pushed out of bounds by Mohit, which levelled the scores.
Manjeet then went in for presumably the game’s final raid but was instantly brought down by Sunil Kumar, with five seconds left on the clock. Rajput then went in again, looking to cross the baulk line to make the raid legal and head back to his team’s half, but was met with an Ankle Hold attempt from Sagar. However, the raider managed to escape it and get his hand across the midline to win a dramatic game for the Giants.
Best Raider – Mahendra Rajput (8 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sunil Kumar (5 Tackle Points)
Best Raider – Manjeet (12 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Sagar (6 Tackle Points)