In a must-win match for a chance to qualify for the Pro Kabaddi Season 8 playoffs, Gujarat Giants produced one of their finest performances of the campaign to win 43-33 over Tamil Thalaivas at the Sheraton Grand, Whitefield in Bengaluru on Friday.
The win meant Gujarat Giants are now tied on 62 points with Jaipur Pink Panthers at the seventh spot in the PKL standings. They will now play U Mumba in their last league match on Saturday in another do-or-die encounter.
In Gujarat Giants’ penultimate league match of the season, the defence shone as Parvesh Bhainswal scored a high 5 while Girish Ernak and Sunil Kumar chipped in with four tackle points each. Raider Mahendra Rajput, meanwhile, starred with a super 10.
For Tamil Thalaivas, Himanshu scored seven raid points while Sagar ended with four tackle points.
Both sides started the match relying on their defensive strength and played on the do-or-die raids. However, Gujarat Giants’ Rakesh Sungroya broke the shackles by scoring points off successive raids as Gujarat inflicted an early all-out on Tamil Thalaivas to lead 11-6. With under 10 minutes to half-time, Tamil Thalaivas managed to reduce the deficit courtesy of their in-from defence although Gujarat went into half-time leading 16-13.
In the second half, Himanshu’s four-point raid enabled Tamil Thalaivas to inflict an all-out on Gujarat Giants and gain an upper hand. However, Mahendra Rajput and substitute Pardeep Kumar had other ideas as they managed to keep the Tamil Thalaivas’ defence at bay.
With under 10 minutes of play remaining, Gujarat Giants inflicted the second all-out on Tamil Thalaivas and managed to consolidate their lead with an all-rounded effort from their defence.
In the quest of making a comeback, Tamil Thalaivas kept leaking points as a confident-looking Gujarat setup managed to inflict another all-out and gain a firm grip on the match.
In the end, Tamil Thalaivas succumbed to a 10-point defeat as Gujarat Giants inched a step closer to the PKL playoff qualification with a resounding victory.
Meanwhile, Tamil Thalaivas after their seventh successive loss bowed out of the tournament with five wins from 22 matches.