Gujarat Giants defeated defending champions Bengal Warriors 34-25 in the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 8’s ‘Rivalry Week’, here on Tuesday.
Giants’ raiders made it a night to remember by inviting errors from the Warriors defence and playing to the team’s strategy. Ajay Kumar picked 9 points and was supported by Pardeep Kumar with 7.
Bengal’s loss will affect their confidence as they try to secure a playoff berth. Captain Maninder Singh scored 9 points but had a difficult time on the mat against a well-drilled Gujarat unit marshalled by Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar.
The first half was closely fought with both defences bringing their A-game to the mat. The Giants made just one change to the side that beat Haryana Steelers with Rakesh Narwal replacing Mahendra Rajput.
But Gujarat’s left corner Ravinder Pahal suffered an early injury to his knee and had to be replaced by Iranian HadiOshtorak. It was the Giants who took an early lead in the match, but Bengal found their way back, inspired by Ran Singh’s Super Tackle. The lead kept changing hands in the first half with Gujarat going on top once again through a 3-point Super Raid by Pardeep Kumar in the 9th minute.
Bengal immediately bounced back in the match with a two-point raid by Maninder Singh. Both defences opted for a high line which meant there were no bonus points on offer. Gujarat’s Ajay Kumar also chipped in with valuable raid points. The half ended with scores 13-12 in the Giants’ favour.
Gujarat coach Manpreet Singh substituted Rakesh Narwal for Rakesh S in the second half and this proved to be a big decision. The young raider fetched a 3-point Super Raid in the early minutes which gave the Giants enough momentum to secure an all-out in the 7th minute after the restart.
Bengal captain Maninder Singh was having a troubled night, failing in Super Tackle situations, and not moving with confidence. Substitute Ravindra Kumavat contributed with important raid points while Ran Singh clinched his High 5.
Gujarat had a nine-point lead going into the final five minutes and they extended it with Pardeep Kumar excellent with his raids. At no point did the lead look in threat despite Maninder Singh’s attempts in the final minutes. They put on a collective effort to ensure Bengal Warriors lost by a 9-point margin.