Bengaluru Bulls proved their title credentials with a well-fought 46-37 victory against Gujarat Giants in the Pro Kabaddi League season 8 match at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Friday.
The Season 6 champions showed great composure on the mat against a well-drilled Giants team to earn a victory that puts them on top of the points table.
Pawan Sehrawat scored 19 points and was ably supported by Bharat who clinched nine points (including two for tackles). Gujarat matched Bulls for most parts of the match but the three all-out they suffered proved too costly at the end. Their young raider Rakesh clinched a Super 10 (14 points) and will definitely be a raider to watch out for in the upcoming matches.
The first half was a kabaddi exhibition with top-class performances in all areas of the mat. Sehrawat was his prolific best from the start, moving around the mat effortlessly to score points.
At the other end, Rakesh proved why he is touted as the next raiding star, bringing out Dubkis and swift toe-touches. He produced 'he game's first Super Raid in the 8th minute for Gujarat, but Pawan settled the score in the 10th minute with a 3-point raid for the Bulls.
Parvesh Bhainswal then brought out a stunning super tackle on Pawan Sehrawat but the Bulls had the last laugh when they clinched an all-out with seven minutes remaining for halftime. Rakesh and Pawan kept picking up raid points in a high-scoring half that ended 22-17 with the Bulls in the lead.
Pawan got his Super 10 in a two-point raid that unfortunately led to a shoulder injury for Gujarat's Sumit. Substitute Pradeep Kumar turned out to be an effective introduction for the Giants as they matched Bulls in the early minutes of the second half.
Bulls had another weapon ready too in Bharat who ensured Pawan spent very little time on the dugout with quick revivals. Pradeep's he'oics or Sunil's Sup'r Tackle wasn't good enough to prevent an all-out with 11 minutes remaining as the Bulls opened a 4-point lead again.
Gujarat coach Manpreet Singh advised his players to not show Bulls raider any mercy in the first Time Out. And that is exactly what his Giants defender did by tackling Pawan and Bharat relentlessly in the minutes that followed. But the Bulls defenders, especially Saurabh Nandal, were certainly in no mood to give up as they gave the Giants' raiders a horrid time.
Bengaluru got another all-out with 2 minutes remaining to open a 9-point lead. Their defenders saw out the last minutes to clinch a 9-point win.