Gujarat Giants and Dabang Delhi KC played out a draw in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8, here on Sunday. A last-minute blunder from the experienced defender Ravinder Pahal allowed Dabang Delhi’s Naveen Kumar to secure a raid point that handed a 24-24 tie for his side.
Delhi’s star raider once again secured a Super 10 (11 points), his third in three matches of PKL 8, but the team was lucky to escape with a tie after another match filled with mistakes from their 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. 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 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 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.
Coach Manpreet Singh’s wise words to his defence seemed to have worked magic as the Gujarat defence finally managed to get Naveen Kumar out with less than 10 minutes in the clock. 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.