Bengaluru Bulls defeated defending champions Bengal Warriors 36-35 in a closely contested Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 match, here on Sunday. Pawan Sehrawats brilliant 15 points and a last-minute two-point raid by South Korean Dong-Geon Lee sealed the match for Bulls.
Bengal will only have themselves to blame after being given a good start by captain Maninder Singh who scored 17 points. Abozar Mighani's mistakes however proved too costly for Season 7 champions. Maninder Singh and Pawan Sehrawat ensured it was a day to remember for fantastic Kabaddi raids in a high-scoring first half where the Bulls matched the Warriors blow for blow.
The game started with Bengal in the front foot with Maninder's raw strength a big challenge for the Bengaluru defence. The raider pulled off a massive Super Raid in the 8th minute of the match to take out four Bulls defenders and clinch the defending champions their first all-out of the match. Maninder also clinched his Super 10 in the first half.
But Bengaluru refused to let their shoulders drop despite trailing by 8 points and slowly regained momentum. Pawan Sehrawat who spent around 8 minutes of the first 15 in the dugout then showed the world why he is regarded as a top raider with 7-points (5+2 points for a Super Raid) to wipe out the Warriors defence for an all out close to half-time. The first half ended 18-17 with the Bulls in the lead.
Mohammad Nabibakhsh ensured Pawan Sehrawat started the second half with an unsuccessful raid in the first half with the Indian women's Kabaddi team watching from the fan wall. But Bengal failed to capitalise and soon Pawan return to get his Super 10. Aman, playing his first season of PKL, then produced a stellar ankle hold on Maninder, to reduce Bengal to just 2 men on the mat. The bulls got their all out in the 12th minute of the half to make the scores 28-21 but Bengal showed their warrior spirit to immediately claw back. Maninder scored 2 points in a raid, while Nabibakhsh picked up a raid point and then tackled Pawan Sehrawat successfully.
The Iranian all-rounder led the charge that saw the Warriors clinch another all out with five minutes in the clock to narrow the Bulls' lead to just one point (31-30). But Bulls coach Randhir Singh Sehrawat proved why he is considered the best in the business by bringing in Dong-Geon Lee. The South Korean produced a 2-point raid by targeting Bengal's right corner. The Warriors could only get 1 point in the last raid to lose the match by the narrowest margin.