GUJARAT FORTUNGIANTS showcased an all-round performance to beat Dabang Delhi 26-20 in their opening fixture of Pro Kabaddi League season 5.
In the opening minutes of the game, raiders of both teams played cautiously and forced a do-or-die raid on each other. Gujarat made the most of it by scoring a tackle point and adding it with two more raid points. It was surprising to see Dabang Delhi raider Rohit Baliyan come on for Viraj Vishnu Langde in the fourth minute of the game. Dabangs opened their account in the fifth minute of the game and made it 3-1.
The Dabangs chased slowly and brought the scores to 5-4 with 10 minutes on the board. However, they lost points in quick succession and looked clueless with their substitutions and ended the first half 15-5. The Delhi outfit brought Vishnu back in for Baliyan, only to roll him out for Anand Patil a few minutes later.
With skipper Meraj Sheykh struggling in defence as well as attack, Delhi looked out of sorts and trailed 17-8 after 24 minutes. The debutants continued to pick points with ease and led 20-8 after 28 minutes. They inflicted the second all-out of the game in the 31st minute and extended their lead to 25-9. Subsequently, skipper Sukesh Hegde used dilatory tactics and took rest while walking during his raids. It was a special night for R. Sriram, who came on as a substitute for Rupesh Tomar at half-time, and raided in tandem with Anand Patil to restrict the deficit below seven points in order to take a point from the game.
R. Sriram: A ajor chunk of credit for taking away a point from the game needs to go this youngster. He was signed as a replacement for Suraj Desai. The 19-year-old was benched in the earlier games but made the most of the opportunity against Gujarat. Out of 8 raids, Sriram scored 5 successful raid points.
Meraj Sheykh: It was a night to forget for the Iranian skipper. Committed serious blunders in defence, attack as well as decision-making department. Meraj scored no raid points as he made two empty raids and was denied do-or-die raid points twice.