The Giants squared off against the high-flying Dabang Delhi in their third match of the season. Gujarat came into the match with a 50% record, while the men from the capital sat pretty at the top of the table with 10 points under their belt. Fans were excited to see whether the experienced Gujarat Giants defense could derail the Naveen Express, and it proved to be a tantalising match-up.
Gujarat Giants went for the first raid of the match, but it was the men from the capital who took the first point. The game got off to an extremely tactical start, with the score tied at 2-2 in the third minute. The warring sides went punch-for-punch in the opening 10 minutes, with the scoreboard locked at 7-7. Much was expected of the Giants' defense, but the two Rakeshs scored the majority of Gujarat's points in the first quarter. While Rakesh Narwal built further on his excellent form, his namesake continued to impress in his debut season.
Neither team let their opposition take a substantial lead at any point in the match, as the score remained even in the 15th and 17th minute. At the blow of the half-time whistle, the teams were separated by just the solitary point and it was Dabang Delhi who had the advantage.
Dabang Delhi started the second-half on the front foot through Naveen Kumar's third consecutive Super 10 of the season. With just 10 minutes remaining, Delhi took a 19-16 lead and looked set to maintain their 100% win record of the season.
Sunil Kumar, however, had different plans. In one of the rarest sightings on the VIVO Pro Kabaddi mat, Naveen Kumar registered an unsuccessful raid. An excellent Thigh-Hold by the Giants’ captain eliminated him for the first and only time in the match to swing the momentum in Gujarat's favor.
The Giants reduced the deficit to just a solitary point with a tad over 4 minutes remaining. Both the sides went neck-and-neck before Gujarat managed to tie the match at 23-all with less than 40 seconds remaining.
Big boss, Manpreet Singh, immediately called for a time-out with just 39 seconds remaining. An inspiring team talk by the Head Coach was concluded with "101% point aayega," and his plan was executed to perfection. Rakesh took the all-important point in the Do-or-Die raid to put his side ahead with just about 7 seconds to play.
Naveen Kumar took the last raid of the match. Ravinder Pahal went in for a tackle, but the raider managed to leap over the defender which saw the match ending in a 24-24 enthralling draw.
This proved to be the perfect box-office fixture on one of the biggest days in the sporting world - Boxing Day.