Ajay Thakur showed his class to help Tamil Thalaivas beat Gujarat Fortunegiants 34-28 in Pro Kabaddi at the TransStadia arena in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
Thakur scored nine points in the game, but it was his late super raid that truly tilted a tight game in the favour of the Tamil Thalaivas.
Sachin Tanwar made two successful raids in the opening exchanges to put Gujarat 4-1 in front of their home crowd, but Ajay Thakur picked up his first point of the evening to close the gap. It was neck and neck in the first half as the two teams were locked at 6-6 after 12 minutes.
Thakur levelled matters again at 8-8 after Tanwar’s two-point raid for Gujarat. Manjeet Chhillar then sent the famed Gujarat raider on the bench before Thakur scored a two-point raid of his own to put the Thalaivas 11-8 up.
Thakur once again picked up two points in his raid to complete the first all-out of the evening to give the Chennai side a five-point advantage at half time.
Leading 15-10 at the start of the second half, the Tamil Thalaivas defence came to the party early in the second half making three straight successful tackles to have the Chennai side 18-11 ahead.
The Thalaivas then slowed the game down by playing on the third raid and managed to preserve their healthy lead till the 30th minute. However, Sunil Kumar’s super tackle on Rahul Chaudhari gave Gujarat a window to come back into the game. Rohit Gulia then made two successful raids before Sunil Kumar sent Thakur to the bench to reduce the deficit to just three points.
With the momentum on their side, Gujarat Fortunegiants completed their first all-out of the match to take a 26-25 lead in the game with four minutes left on the clock.
The Thalaivas’ old guard then took responsibility. Manjeet tackled Rohit Gulia to level the tie before Thakur displayed all his raiding qualities to score a timely super raid.
Tamil Thalaivas who led 29-26 with three minutes on the clocked upped the ante in the final minutes to complete another all-out and put the game beyond all doubt.
Gulia though scored two crucial points for Gujarat in the buzzer raid that earned them a point from the game despite losing the encounter 28-34.
Naveen stars as Delhi beat Pune
Dabang Delhi continued their dream run in Pro Kabaddi this season as they edged an in-form Puneri Paltan side 32-30 in the second game on Saturday to cement their place at the top of the points table.
Naveen Kumar was once again the star for Dabang Delhi having scored 11 points on the night but was greatly supported by Chandran Ranjit who scored 8 points himself.
Puneri Paltan welcomed back star man Nitin Tomar to their fold after he recovered from his injury. But the opening exchanges belonged to Naveen who scored three points in the first six minutes to give Dabang Delhi a 6-3 lead.
Pune had no answers to his raiding as two more successful raids from the youngsters helped Delhi inflict an all-out on Pune.
Tomar bagged his first touch point in the 10th minute as Pune reduced the deficit to five points but the combination of Naveen and Chandran meant Delhi took an 18-11 lead into the interval.
Defensive mistakes at both ends meant raiders on either side kept picking up raid points. Delhi led 27-20 heading into the final ten minutes and looked comfortable in the match until Girish Ernak helped Puneri Paltan get back into the contest with a super tackle in the 33rd minute.
Pune made a real contest of it, trailing by just two points with three minutes left as raider Manjeet stepped up to the plate with two successful raids.
Surjeet then tackled Chandran in a do-or-die raid to get Pune within a point of Dabang Delhi ahead of the buzzer raid, but Manjeet stepped out of court to hand the point and the match to Dabang Delhi in the final raid.
On Sunday, Bengaluru Bulls take on Haryana Steelers before Gujarat Fortunegiants’ game against Telugu Titans