The final match of the Bengaluru leg of Pro Kabaddi League season 7 turned out to be just the kind of finale a raucus crowd at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium wanted. In an epic battle of two great raiders, Pawan Sehrawat of Bengaluru Bulls and Siddharth Desai of Telugu Titans, it was the former who emerged victorious.
The match started with both Pawan and Rohit getting tackled early in the first half. In the first do-or-die raid of the match, the wiry Armaan of Titans almost pulled off a magnificent multi-point raid but was restrained at the last moment from touching the line.
With both Pawan and Rohit on the bench, Bulls sent Sumit Singh for their do-or-die raid and he managed to take advantage of weak defending in the right corner to score two points and get Rohit and Sehrawat back on mat.
Armaan of Telugu team tried to pull off a flying raid by jumping over the right defender but the latter grabbed his leg and the tackle was easy after that. After the first ten minutes, it was hard to say which team was better. Pawan and Rohit were yet to make a big impact. So was the case with Siddharth Desai.
Then in the 12th minute, Sehrawat pulled off the acrobatic raid that has earned him the moniker 'Hi-flier.' Soon, he had another successful raid where his blistering speed got the better of the right defender Abozar Meghani.
Then Desai got into the act in his usual style by forcing his way, almost, through the defender. In one of the consequent plays, Pawan, rather than flying, tried to sneak under the tackling opponents but failed. So did Siddharth when Mahender Singh grabbed his leg and others rushed to surround him so that they can, collectively, prevent him from powering his way through, and succeeded.
In the 19th minute, a raid from Pawan where he got one point reduced Titans to just three players and the score read 14-12 in Bulls' favour. The half ended with just one point separating the two teams. However, Titans just had two players left on the mat.
After the mid-game interval, Pawan easily eliminated these remaining two players to get an all-out over Titans. The score now was 19-12 in favour of Bengaluru.
Siddharth got two points in one of his raids. This was followed by the tackling of Rohit. With 21-17 on the scoreboard, the Telugu team was very much in the game. In the sixth minute, there was a do-or-die raid for Siddharth and he succeeded. But then Pawan went in for his own do-or-die raid and eliminated three of his opponents. This put Bulls ahead by six with the score 24-18.
To make things worse for Titans, Siddharth got tackled in the very next raid and they were down to just three players. In the 11th minute, Sehrawat went in and tagged two players on the run to reduce the Titans to just one. The impending all-out came in the 13th minute as the lead for the home team swelled to nine points with the score at 32-23.
With five minutes remaining, the score was still heavily in favour of the home team as they were leading 33-25. A lot now depended on Siddharth and his raiding prowess. He pulled off two successive one-point raids. But Bengaluru skipper Rohit came good on a do-or-die raid to keep the lead from reducing more than one point.
After a timout, Siddharth suddenly turned things around when he eliminated four players and inflicted an all-out in a six-point raid. The score suddenly became 35-33. Pawan got one point back and it was he now who had to ensure a safe finish for his team.
Two minutes remained a gap of three minutes was on the board. Siddharth went in to raid and this time, instead of attacking the left corner went into the right one. And guess what, he got three more points. The scores were level now at 36-36.
Pawan rose to the occasion to get two points in his raid but Siddharth got one more point for his team. Just over one minute remained and the gap was one solitary point. It was make or break for both Pawan and Siddharth.
Pawan had an empty raid in the last minute and Siddharth levelled scores with a successful raid. Pawan went in with few seconds remaining and was tackled but he managed the get his hand across with less than five seconds remaining and got two points. It was all over as Sehrawat sealed an incredible win in another incredible match of Pro Kabaddi League 2019.
The final score was 40-39 as Desai was allowed an easy point in the last raid. The Bulls ended their home leg with a victory and did a lap of honour with Pawan leading the way. He ended up with 23 points while the valiant Desai had 23 also.