Gujarat Giants and UP Yoddha shared points after they played out a 32-32 draw in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 at the Sheraton Grand Whitfield, here on Wednesday.
Gujarat Giants would rue the result as they led for most parts of the match, holding a good 20-14 lead at the break, while UP Yoddha staged a spectacular comeback in the second half to give nothing away and make Gujarat work hard for every point. Rakesh Narwal was the star raider for Gujarat Giants with 13 points, supported by Ajay Kumar while Girish Ernak (4 tackle points) was a live-wire in the defence.
For UP Yoddha, Pardeep Narwal sizzled with 11 raid points and he got ample support from Surender Gill with 6 points. Pardeep Narwal started well for UP Yoddha with a splendid two-pointer when he foiled a defensive tackle from Rakesh and Girish Ernak. Ajay Kumar then put Gujarat on the scoresheet with his first raid when he got a running touch on Surender Gill.
All eyes then were on Rakesh Narwal who came up with a productive raid for Gujarat and put them in the lead at 4-3, when he took three defenders out. A superb defensive work from Gujarat Giants saw them send talisman Pardeep Narwal to the bench as Gujarat extended their lead at 6-3.
Surender Gill avoided an all out for UP Yoddha as he accounted for Ravinder Pahal and in the process also scored a bonus point in a good raid. Soon UP Yoddha restored parity at 7-7 when Surender Gill and Sumit felled Rakesh.
It was Gujarat Giants who slowly rose into control when Rakesh beat two UP Yoddha defenders, scored four points and inflicted an all outon the Uttar Pradesh team at 7-12. However, a defensive lapse by Gujarat Giants on Pardeep Narwal helped UP Yoddha crawl back at 8-14 as the 'Dubki King' scored a touch point.
Gujarat Giants upped the ante soon as Girish Ernakand Sunil Kumar were on top of their defence skills as they sent Pardeep Narwal out as they consolidated their lead at 15-8. Rakesh Narwal was in tremendous form as he executed a running touch on Sumit to perfection, with good balance, as Gujarat Giants extended their lead to 17-9.
At the stroke of halftime Gujarat Giants held on to a lead at 20-14 with impressive performances from Girish Ernak and Rakesh Narwal.
UP Yoddha stood a better team in the second half negating all advance tackle attempts from Gujarat Giants and restored parity at 22-22 when Pardeep Narwal got a toe touch, upheld by a review, on Sunil Kumar. Rakesh Narwal soon completed his Super 10 of the night while the Gujarat Giants held on to a slender lead at 25-23.
Ajay Kumar then dodged two UP Yoddha defenders as he freed himself from an ankle hold to give a slender advantage to Gujarat Giants at 29-26. The teams traded points and there was nothing to separate both the teams as they dished out an excellent all-round performance.