After losing to Gujarat Fortunegiants in their first home league match, Bengaluru Bulls were looking for a win against their southern rivals Tamil Thalaivas. They were able to achieve exactly this as their star Pawan Sehrawat came into his own after a disappointing match the previous day to lead his team to a much-needed win.
This was a match power-packed with star raiders. Rahul Chaudhari, Rohit Kumar, Pawan Sehrawat and others. Luckily for the fans, all of them were in reasonably good form. An early indication of this came very early on in the match as Rohit pulled off a brilliant raid where he sneaked below his tacklers to get two points.
However, he was brought back to earth very quickly when successfully tackled on his very next foray into the opposition half. Then the crowd at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium were treated to the brilliant sight of 'Hi-flier' Sehrawat leaping over his tacklers to score points.
But in the very next raid, he was eliminated by Chaudhari. Rohit got one back for his team by eliminating Manjeet Chillar - the star defender for Thalaivas. Points continued to be exchanged between the two teams as Ajay Thakur and Rohit made successful raids. Sehrawat pulled off another brilliant raid in the 17th minute to get two points but later got tackled out thanks to a vicious dash from Mohit Chillar to the side.
Chaudhari scored a raid point to bring the scores closer as the first half ended 14-13 in favour of Bengaluru.
Immediately after the interval, Sumit Singh was tackled out to bring the scores level. At this stage the game seemed to be evenly poised and it was hard to predict which side would win. Interestingly, Manjeet Chillar, the experienced defender in Thalaivas team, was seen giving instructions to his captain Thakur before the latter went into raids.
However, the advice didn't work as Ajay was tackled out soon after. Bulls had a two points lead which was extended to four when a breezy raid from Sehrawat earned a brace of victims. Pawan then came up with another successful raid where he scored a point by kicking Chaudhari on the side of his face.
The Chennai-based team were looking ruffled and tempers were flaring. But by this time, the 'Hi-flier' had taken full flight and completed his super-10 with another two-point raid where he charged from right to left and tagged two of his opponents.
When their captain Ajay Thakur was tackled out, the Thalaivas were down to three players. Ajith Kumar was brought in as a substitute and he delivered by getting a raid point and then went back to the bench. This wiry player had another opportunity later in the game but failed that time.
With the Tamil team down to just three man on-mat, Sehrawat was being sent in to finish off the side but they managed to withstand Pawan's raids. In fact, he was super tackled as Thalaivas refused to give up. The score was now 23-20 and Bulls were being threatened.
However, they soon lost the one man who could have brought them back in the game – Rahul Chaudhari – to a failed raid. A bit of stalemate developed at 24-20 as both teams played cautiously. But with just three players on the mat, Rohit was super-tackled out and the score read 24-22.
The game poised on a knife's edge, a timeout was taken after Bengaluru scored one more tackle point. After the time-out, Sehrawat again came to his team's rescue by eliminating two players and reducing the Tamil side to just one on-mat player. This lone ranger was tackled successfully on the very next raid as an all-out was inflicted and the score reached 30-23 in favour of Bulls with less than five minutes to go.
This clinched the 70th match of the Pro Kabaddi League for the hosts and with Sehrawat scoring some more, the lead swelled to nine points. Even though the lead contracted towards the end, the Bulls comfortably coasted to a 33-27 victory. Sehrawat ended with 17 points and proved his worth once again.