Bengaluru: Dabang Delhi’s seasoned stars had a night to remember as they helped their team beat Patna Pirates 32-29 in Match 62 of the ongoing Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, Bengaluru.
Manjeet Chhillar, the defender with the most tackle points in PKL history, produced a last-raid tackle to clinch the thriller for Delhi, who were once again without the services of their star raider Naveen Kumar. Vijay aided with 9 points while Sandeep Narwal, playing the role of an all-rounder, clinched 8 points in a win that helped Delhi move to the top of the points table.
Patna lacked the usual sharpness in their defence which ultimately cost them the match. Patna dominated the early minutes of the match, but Dabang made a comeback through their raider Vijay. He got valuable points off a surprisingly unstable Patna defence to give Delhi the momentum to clinch an ALL OUT in the 10th minute to open a 4-point lead.
Sandeep Narwal and Manjeet Chhillar used all their experience to good effect on the mat as Delhi’s defence thwarted the Pirates.
Patna’s cover defender Sajin C suffered a knee injury and had to be replaced which clearly affected their team’s chemistry. Sandeep Narwal donned the role of a perfect all-rounder in the first half by also fetching raids points for Delhi. At the interval, Delhi had a 9-point lead with scores of 19-10.
Pirates showed why experts had called them early season favourites to a playoff spot by clawing their way back into the match. The first 10 minutes after the restart belonged completely to Patna as Sachin and Guman Singh exploited the errors in Delhi defence. The lack of a lethal raider affected Delhi’s attack and they finally succumbed to an ALL in the 10th minute.
Patna had managed to reduce the lead to just one point and was clearly the team with momentum. But Delhi was in no mood to let this slip. Sandeep Narwal’s 2-point raid opened the lead to 3 points as both teams traded blows. Mohammadreza Shadloui then clawed one back for Patna with a stunning ankle hold on Ashu Malik.
Vijay then produced a 3-point Super Raid with 3 minutes remaining to give Delhi a 4-point lead. Patna needed 2 points in their last raid, but Manjeet Chhillar brought out a brilliant diving tackle to help Delhi win the match.