Riding on a collective effort from the raiding unit, Gujarat Giants sealed the playoff berth in Pro Kabaddi Season 8 with a 36-33 win over U Mumba in a must-win encounter at the Sheraton Grand, Whitefield in Bengaluru on Saturday.
With the win, Gujarat Giants qualified for their third playoff in four seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League. They will now play Bengaluru Bulls in the second eliminator on Monday.
Gujarat’s best raider of the season, Rakesh Sungroya top-scored with 13 raid points while Girish Ernak starred in defence with a high 5 in the match.
For U Mumba, Ajith Kumar scored a super 10 while Fazel Atrachali ended with three tackle points.
Gujarat Giants started the match in fine fashion with Ajay Kumar returning with two points in his very first raid. Rakesh Sungroya then scored points off his successive raids as a struggling U Mumba suffered an all-out within the first 10 minutes of the match.
Ajith Kumar led U Mumba’s fightback to reduce the deficit but lack of support from the defenders meant Gujarat Giants kept stretching the lead. Rakesh Sungroya’s twin two-point raids in the dying moments of the first half allowed Gujarat Giants to reduce U Mumba to just one player and walk into halftime with a 20-14 lead.
The second half started with Gujarat inflicting an early all-out on U Mumba to consolidate their lead. However, just when Gujarat Giants were cruising along, U Mumba’s raiding duo of Ajith and Shivam managed to take advantage of Gujarat’s complacency and reduce the deficit to under five points.
With the season on the line, Gujarat’s defence rose up to the occasion as they managed to withhold U Mumba’s resistance and keep the scoreboard ticking. However, with four minutes left on the clock, U Mumba succumbed to their third all-out as Gujarat eventually won the match by a three-point margin.
The win helped Gujarat Giants finish the season with 67 points from 22 matches.
Meanwhile, U Mumba with 55 points from 22 outings bowed out of the tournament with their fourth successive loss of the season.