Delhi ride on Naveen’s heroics to edge past Tamil Thalaivas by 1 point

Despite Manjeet’s best efforts, Thalaivas succumbed to a 1-point loss

Dabang Delhi secured a narrow 1-point win over the Tamil Thalaivas in what was a closely-fought contest. Young raiding sensation Naveen Kumar was the star of the show yet again as he took his side to a 32-31 win over the Tamil Thalaivas in Saturday’s Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 fixture.

The Delhi outfit survived a last-minute scare as the Thalaivas came out all guns blazing in the second half to tie the scoreline, which was in favor of Delhi for the majority of the encounter. The final three raids, all done in thirty-seven seconds, were high-octane and it was Delhi who held their nerves better and finished on the winning side. This win will certainly help Delhi get the top-two finish that they have been eyeing.

The Thalaivas did not attempt a bonus point in the last raid before Manjeet Chhillar’s sacrifice as the bonus would have allowed them to level the score and take away two more pivotal points from this encounter.

After a fairly even start, the Naveen Express got going. The Delhi defense was fired-up as well, putting in some eye-catching tackles. The all-out was inflicted soon after, with the lone defender surrendering and granting Naveen an easy point. It was at this moment that the scoreboard read 14-6 in favor of Delhi.

However, post this, the Thalaivas started chipping away at Delhi’s lead little by little. Manjeet put in a couple of successful raids while skipper Surjeet Singh trapped Naveen in a do-or-die raid, which allowed Delhi to go into the second half with only a 7-point lead as the scoreboard stood at 17-10.

Naveen Kumar notched up yet another Super 10 in this tournament

Naveen Kumar notched up yet another Super 10 in this tournament

The Thalaivas were a completely different unit in the second half. They started by garnering two points, one in a raid by Bhavani Rajput and the second in the defense courtesy of Sagar Rathee. Delhi returned the favor and did one better as they collected three points in the next passage of play.

The turning point of the game came when Himanshu went in for a do-or-die raid. The raider forced Joginder to lose his balance and step out of bounds while he went into the lobby without a touch. The cover defenders followed him for a dash which resulted in three points being awarded to the Thalaivas while one point was granted to Delhi. The scoreline now suggested a completely different story as Delhi had only a four-point lead at this stage.

Dabang Delhi was reduced to only a single player on the mat but substitute raider Manjeet stepped into the lobby without a single touch in his very next raid to save an all-out. The parity between the two sides was restored as the score now was 23 apiece.

It was pretty evenly contested from there on as both sides picked up points. Only thirty-seven seconds were left on the clock, with the score reading 30-30. Manjeet came in for a raid to give the Thalaivas an advantage but it was his namesake, Manjeet Chhillar who put in an iron-clad ankle hold to stop the raider.

Naveen went in for the next raid and the Thalaivas played a high line of defense, not allowing the raider to cross even the baulkline. However, the swift raider got a touch on Mohit, who pushed him across the midline with less than ten seconds on the clock.

Delhi had a two-point advantage at this point and the Thalaivas had one last raid left to decide the fate of this contest. Himanshu went in for it but Manjeet Chhillar played the sacrificial card to prevent a multi-point raid, winning the contest for Delhi by a point in the end.

With this win, Delhi moved up to the second position while the Thalaivas’ woes continued as they are now placed at the tenth position and will need consistently stellar performances to cement a playoffs berth.