The Gujarat Giants put up a scintillating performance to defeat Telugu Titans 38-32 in the opening match of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 10 at Ahmedabad’s EKA Arena on Saturday. A compact U Mumbai turned on the style in their tournament opener, as they swatted away UP Yoddhas’ challenge.
Giants’ Raider Sonu scored 11 touch points and his compatriot Rakesh chipped in with 5 touch points in the match. Meanwhile, Telugu Titans’ Captain Pawan Sehrawat returned to the Pro Kabaddi League with a bang through a Super 10.
Rajnish effected a raid as the Telugu Titans took the lead at 4-3 in the opening minutes of the match. However, the Giants fought back and levelled the scores at 5-5 in the seventh minute. Moments later, Rakesh pulled off a magnificent raid as the Giants took the lead at 6-5. Rakesh tried to effect another raid, but the Titans tackled him and inched ahead at 8-6 in the 10th minute.
The Telugu Titans’ defence unit continued to carry out tackles to stay in the lead at 11-7 in the 14th minute. The Giants were reduced to just two defenders in the 15th minute, however, the Iranian duo of Fazel Atrachali and Mohammad Nabibakhsh tackled Pawan Sehrawat to help their team stay in the contest at 12-9. Moments later, the Giants tackled Sehrawat again and levelled the scores at 13-13. However, the Titans managed to clinch the lead at 16-13 by the end of the first half.
Giants’ Sonu pulled off a super raid in the opening minute of the second half as the home team reclaimed the lead at 18-16. The home side continued to showcase brilliant form as they effected an all out in the 23rd minute to extend their lead at 22-18. Sonu continued to pick up raid points for the Giants and helped his team stay in the lead at 26-19 in the 27th minute.
The Giants reduced the Titans to just one player on the mat in the 33rd minute, however, the away team’s Robin Chaudhary effected a raid to help his team stay in the contest. Moments later, Sehrawat effected a raid and helped his team inch closer to Giants’ score at 30-28.
However, Gujarat’s Sourav Gulia tackled Robin Chaudhary to help his team inflict another all out in the 38th minute. The home side held on to their lead in the last couple of minutes and eventually walked off the mat as the winners of the match.
U Mumba beat UP Yoddhas
Fine performances Amirmohammad Zafardanesh, Rinku and Guman Singh ensured that U Mumba would walk away with a 34-31 win over the Yoddhas.
U Mumba had the better of the early exchanges in the first half, keeping the dangerous raiding unit of the Yoddhas at arm’s length. Always quite efficient in attack, Pardeep had a slow start to his season and that was reflected on the scoreline. For U Mumba, Amirmohammad Zafardanesh was leading the charge with three successful raids early on, which put pressure on the opposition.
In the final 10 minutes of the first half, the well drilled U Mumba continued to tighten the screws on the U,P. Yoddhas, and began to pull away with the lead at 7 points at one point. Rinku had put in a few big tackles while Zafardanesh was getting significant raid points to his name. Yoddhas’ Pardeep failed to get a point his way in the first half, which ended with the U Mumba five points ahead.
The Yoddhas started off with a super tackle in the first half, however, it did not take too long for the U Mumba side to get back in their groove. Zafardanesh, Rinku and Guman Singh were on fire and looking to take the game away.
But, the Yoddhas were also starting to claw their way back into the game and landed an all out on Zafardanesh, which brought them right back into the contest.
The contest was heading for a close finish, and with ten minutes to go, the Yoddhas were four points behind. Zafardanesh had registered his first Super 10 of the season while Surinder Gill was on the brink for the Yoddhas.
The fans cheered on both teams, who were matching each other move for move. With five minutes to go, Surinder Gill failed to make a do or die raid count, and allowing U Mumba some breathing space, who surged into a four-point lead.
Eventually, the Yoddhas weren’t able to mount a comeback and U Mumba came away with a comfortable win.