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Kabaddi

PKL 2021: Girish Ernak helps Gujarat Gaints edge past Jaipur Pink Panthers

The Gujarat Fortunegaints edged past Jaipur Pink Panthers 34-27 in their opening encounter of PKL 2021, thanks to a sensational show from their defensive unit led by the veteran Girish Ernak.

PKL 2021: Girish Ernak helps Gujarat Gaints edge past Jaipur Pink Panthers
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Abhishek Deshwal was the lone saving grace for Jaipur Pink Panthers

By

Abhijit Nair

Updated: 1 Jan 2022 5:09 AM GMT

The Gujarat Fortunegaints edged past Jaipur Pink Panthers in their opening encounter of PKL 2021, thanks to a sensational show from their defensive unit led by the veteran Girish Ernak. Arjun Deshwal was the only saving grace for the Jaipur Pink Panthers in an otherwise disappointing show.

The match started off with three empty raids before Jaipur Pink Panther's Arjun Deshwal got a touch on the Gujarat Giants captain Sunil Malik to gain the first point of the match. Things kept swinging back and forth then and once Deepak Niwas Hooda was taken out of the mat, thanks to a sensational dash, the Pink Panthers seemed to have lost the plot.

The Giants senses an opportunity here and inflicted an all-out to on the Pink Panthers to take an early lead in the contest.

The Pink Panthers, however, came back with vengeance to reduce the Gujarat Fortune Giants to just two men within three minutes of the all-out. Just when it looked like the Pink Panthers were making comeback into the contest, Parvesh Bainshwal came with a stunning super tackle to bring his captain Sunil Malik back onto the mat. The glimmer of hope did not last long for the Pink Panthers as Arjun Deswal inflicted an all-out in the 18th minute, crossing to his side with a touch on both Parvesh and Sunil - two of Gujarat's defending mainstays.

With all the players back in the court, the Gujarat Giants defence soon sent Nitin Raval out to pocket a slender 19-17 lead at halftime.

Five minutes into the second half, the Sunil Malik-led side equalised at 20-20 but Rakesh Narwal snatched back the lead with a two-point raid. Jaipur's young raider Arjun Deshwal soon completed his super 10 as the Pink Panthers edged ahead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game to lead 24-23.

With less than 10 minutes to go, things got too heated when the TV umpire overruled an on-court decision in favour of the Pink Panthers. The Gujarat Giants coach was shown a green card with seven minutes to go.

This, however, did not seem to have affected the Giants one bit as they edged 26-25 ahead, winning three consecutive points. They seemed to have gotten control over the proceedings as they reduced the Panthers to three me with just over two minutes to go.

The pressure kept building on the Jaipur Pink Panthers as Rakesh was taken down in do-or-die raid and they were down to just two men. Sandeep Dhull followed his teammate as Sandeep Dhull stepped on to the lobby without touch to further dent his team's chances.

Coming in as a substitute raider Amit did not have any answers for Parvesh Bainswal's double thigh hold as the Pink Panthers were wiped out for the second time in the match. The Panthers led a 33-27 and some sensible play from the men in Gujarat meant that they walked away with a 34-27 win.

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