PKL 8: Bengaluru Bulls, Telugu Titans split points in exciting Southern Derby
Bengaluru, January 2, 2022
A last-second tackle by Pawan Sehrawat on Rohit Kumar helped Bengaluru Bulls pull off a thrilling 34-34 tie against Telugu Titans in Match 26 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand Whitefield here on Saturday.
The Titans dominated the match with two all-outs but their inability to safeguard a lead in the final stages cost them a win.
Bengaluru Bulls had a poor day on the mat with Pawan Sehrawat spending more than 20 minutes in the dugout but the captain initiated the most important tackle of the match in the final second. Titans, despite the morale-depleting tie, will take positives in the performance of their young raider Ankit Beniwal, who finished with a Super 10.
With Siddharth Desai not available for selection, Telugu Titans went into the Southern Derby as underdogs against a Bulls team in rich form. But kabaddi is a game of surprises and the tempo was set early with Pawan Sehrawat tackled successfully by Sandeep Kandola. The high-flyer raider had no points in the first eight minutes of the match and spent more than 15 of the half in the dugout as the Titans matched the Bulls blow for blow.
Titans' captain Rohit Kumar had yet another ineffective half as a raider with no points but his calmness on the mat inspired youngsters Ankit Beniwal and Rakesh Gowda to shine. Both raiders picked up 4 points in the half, but the Bulls stayed in the match through Chandran Ranjit and Bharat.
Titans captain will only have himself to blame when he failed in a raid when Bulls had just two men on the mat. The first half ended with Bengaluru in a two-point lead (14-12) but the game was well-balanced.
Telugu Titans were quick to inflict an all-out in the second half. Ankit Beniwal picked up a 2-point raid and Sandeep Kandola followed it up with a tackle on Pawan Sehrawat in the third minute to get an all-out.
The Bulls, despite lacking the usual sharpness, kept matching the Titans and the scores were tied 22-22 with 10 minutes remaining in the half. Ankit Beniwal picked up his Super 10 but Rohit Kumar failed to give him the support needed with Rakesh Gowda getting injured. But left-corner defender Adarsh showed he is more than a capable deputy in a time of crisis by fetching a 3-point Super Raid in a do-or-die situation with five minutes on the clock.
Titans got another all-out when Sandeep Kandola tackled Chandran Ranjit with less than two minutes to go. But Bulls refused to give up and Pawan Sehrawat tackled Rohit Kumar in the last raid of the match to clinch a tie. Rohit's baffling decision to choose himself, when all Titans needed was a safe, legal raid, instead of in-form Adarsh cost the team a valuable win against Season 6 champions.