Dabang Delhi K.C. banked on their strong defence to thrash Gujarat Giants 41-22 in Match 81 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, on Saturday. Defenders Manjeet Chhillar and Krishan scored High 5s for the Delhi side who moved to the top of the points table with the result.
Vijay (8 points) and Neeraj Narwal (4 points) contributed to the raiding points for Delhi, who continued to be without their star raider Naveen Kumar. Gujarat coach Manpreet Singh will have no positives to take from the result with both the defence and attack falling short.
Dabang Delhi K.C. started the match on the front foot with their much-maligned defence showing aggressive intent. Captain Joginder Narwal was back in the left corner position and that seemed to have motivated the senior pros in the team. Sandeep Narwal and Manjeet Chhillar looked confident in the defence along with youngster Krishan.
Vijay also continued to impress in the lead raider role and picked up a 3-point Super Raid in the 7th minute to reduce the Giants on the mat. A Super Tackle by Rakesh Narwal wasn’t enough for Giants to prevent an all-out in the 11th minute.
The Giants also struggled in their attack. Their only consistent raider Rakesh S. didn’t take up the bulk of the raiding duties surprisingly. Coach Manpreet should have known how Delhi’s cover defenders lack the speed and Rakesh’s fast hand touches could have been a potent attacking ploy. The first half ended 22-11 with Delhi in a comfortable lead.
Delhi continued to dominate the mat after the interval. Gujarat raiders could only muster two raid points in the first 10 minutes as Delhi inflicted another all-out to open a 16-point lead. Delhi’s raiders didn’t have to do anything extraordinary as the unsure Giants defence kept gifting them points. Gujarat coach Manpreet Singh tried five raiders — Pardeep Kumar, Ajay Kumar, Rakesh Narwal, Rakesh S and Bhuvneshwar Gaur — but nobody could find a way past the Delhi defence.
Pardeep’s raids helped Gujarat smell a potential all-out, but Delhi produced two consecutive Super Tackles to keep the balance of play with them. Krishan and Manjeet Chhillar clinched their High 5s for Delhi as the team maintained a 15-point lead going into the last 5 minutes. Sandeep Narwal got a 2-minute suspension for a yellow card, but Gujarat couldn’t challenge Delhi in the dying minutes. The defeat means Gujarat continued to stay at 11th in the points table.