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Patna Pirates vs Tamil Thalaivas, Pro Kabaddi League 2018 Highlights: As It Happened | October 8, 2018, 8:48 AM IST
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Preview: In a nation now obsessed with franchise-based leagues since the inauguration of the Indian Premier League (IPL) changed the way sports were presented to fans, the success of the Pro Kabaddi League remains a heartwarming tale. Kabaddi has always been a popular one in India, especially in the rural areas of the country. But as is evidenced by the ever-growing TV ratings for the PKL, it has become more than just a sport enjoyed by certain sections of society. The fact that it is now a commercially viable tournament – something which can’t be said about many of the leagues that tried to imitate the business model of the IPL – can be seen by the massive sums of money dished out to players during the auction earlier this year. However, this year’s league will begin in the backdrop of a disappointing show for the men’s and women’s national teams in the Asian Games 2018 and a stand-off between two warring factions.

India’s disappointing show at the Asian Games this year in both the men’s and women’s Kabaddi events raised many questions among fans and journalists alike. As the country began to digest the losses, charges of corruption and nepotism within the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) reached the Delhi High Court. This eventually led to the court mandating two trail matches of sorts for both the men and women – with one team including players ignored by the AKFI and the other team consisting of the players who represented India in the Asian Games. The game eventually did not happen, leading to what can best be described as a farcical situation that saw two teams backed by rival body the New Kabaddi Federation of India (NKFI) come fully kitted up for a match against the current teams that, for whatever reason, didn’t take place. To make matters even more confusing, the NKFI then announced the launch of a new league – the Indo International Premier Kabaddi League (IIPKL), which will begin next year.
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Oct 7, 2018 9:06 pm (IST)

That's the game and the Tamil Thalaivas start the tournament with a 26-42 win over the defending champions Patna Pirates. What a good overall showing that was for them. The Pirates, though, have more questions ahead of their next game. 

Oct 7, 2018 9:02 pm (IST)

Pardeep Narwal has notched up 10 raid points tonight, but his side have been defensively poor. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:59 pm (IST)

The game is ticking down and the home side now lead 41-17. Quite the start to the league, this. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:55 pm (IST)

5 minutes left and the score is 17-39 to the Thalaivas. Super Tackle yields no points. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:53 pm (IST)

Ajay Thakur has top scored in this game with 12 points. Narwal, the opposing team's main raider, has gotten seven. It's the Thalaivas' defence that made the difference today. They now lead 39-16 with 6 and a half minutes left. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:48 pm (IST)

The Thalaivas are not exactly hunting for points at this stage but they are coming nice and easy regardless. They are ahead 37-14 now. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:44 pm (IST)

Two points for the Thalaivas now on Super Tackle! The clock is running down and so are Patna's chances of starting their title defence with a win. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:41 pm (IST)

This isn't getting much better for the Pirates even though they're actually getting a few points now. The deficit is too big. 34-12 to the Thalaivas now. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:37 pm (IST)

The Pirates - defending champions, remember - have gotten back 2 points but are still 23 points ahead. Oops. Not a good start for them, but the home fans are absolutely loving this. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:35 pm (IST)

This is happening quick. The Thalaivas get 2 points early and then they get an additional 4 points to make the lead 32-8. This is a drubbing at this point. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:33 pm (IST)

And we are underway in the second half! Can the Pirates somehow find their way back into this game? 

Oct 7, 2018 8:25 pm (IST)

Half time is called and the Tahlaivas are absolutely dominating at this point. They are 26-8 up at the break. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:22 pm (IST)

The Super Tackle was on but the Thalaivas are the one who make the most of it, getting a whopping 4 points in the process! 

Oct 7, 2018 8:19 pm (IST)

All of Patna's points have come from raids, which shows that their defence is yet to click. The latest score is 17-7 to the Thalaivas. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:17 pm (IST)

The game is heating up now. Three points for the Thalaivas as well as two for Patna now takes the score to 14-6 with 7 minutes to play. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:15 pm (IST)

The Pirates have now notched three points on the trot. The deficit is still of 6 points, however. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:13 pm (IST)

And now thanks to an All Out the home side are 11-2 up! This isn't looking good for the Pirates. They need to hit back soon. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:12 pm (IST)

The Thalaivas gather two more points - one from a defensive masterstroke and the other from the raider getting a touch on the opposing defender. 6-1 is the lead now and they are cruising. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:09 pm (IST)

Patna get one point back but the Thalaivas hit back almost straightaway with dual points and the lead is now 4-1. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:07 pm (IST)

The Thalaivas get the first raid point of the game then follow it up by preventing Narwal from getting a raid point, meaning they lead 2-0! 

Oct 7, 2018 8:05 pm (IST)

Nothing doing on the first raids by either side; it remains 0-0 so far. Neither of the raiders looking to take too many early risks. 

Oct 7, 2018 8:04 pm (IST)

The match is underway! 

Oct 7, 2018 8:02 pm (IST)
Oct 7, 2018 7:52 pm (IST)

The start of the game is now only a few minutes away. The starting line-ups of both teams will also be out shortly. 

Oct 7, 2018 7:44 pm (IST)
Oct 7, 2018 7:41 pm (IST)
Oct 7, 2018 7:36 pm (IST)

The start of the fifth season of the PKL is not too far away now. Patna Pirates are the defending champions and would be eager to get their title defence off to a winning start. But the Thalaivas are no pushovers. 

Oct 7, 2018 7:24 pm (IST)

Today's game will see two of the best raiders in the country face off as Ajay Thakur and Pardeep Narwal will lead their respective sides. Both will be ex[ected to score a few points when on the raid so the onus is on the defences to keep them quiet. 

Oct 7, 2018 7:18 pm (IST)

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the first Pro Kabaddi 2018 match between Tamil Thalaivas and Patna Pirates! The game is likely to be a cracker so stick around for live updates. 

Patna Pirates vs Tamil Thalaivas, Pro Kabaddi League 2018 Highlights: As It Happened
Bengal Warriors in action.

While a lot can be said about how having two federations at loggerheads with one another running two different leagues can lead to even more confusion, for now let’s just marvel at the fact that two such leagues can even exist – especially since many doubted that the PKL itself would be the smashing success it is today. The PKL 2018 auction saw six players – five Indians and one Iranian – get sold for one crore rupees or more. The most expensive player of the lot – Monu Goyat of the Haryana Steelers – became the highest paid non-cricket sportsman in India after he went for a whopping 1.51 crores. The increased financial stability of the players is undoubtedly a good thing, especially in a country like India where the biggest source of income for players comes in the form of government rewards and new jobs/promotions after winning medals in multi-nation events.

However, one cannot deny the role that the league played in the development of the sport in Iran, the nation that won the Asian Games gold in both men’s and women’s events. The presence of players from South Korea in the PKL – another country the Indian men lost to in the Games during the group stage at the Games – is further proof that the league has helped strengthen players from other nations. The fact that India had won Kabaddi gold in every edition of the Asian Games prior to 2018 might have led to some fans – and maybe even a few players – believing that more finishes atop the podium this year were all but formalities. It’s also worth adding that the development of the sport in other countries isn’t a bad thing. However, the poor showing at the Games should act as a warning to Indian players that they are no longer the undisputed top dogs in kabaddi. The PKL isn’t going to be the solution to the problems that plague the sport in India at present; that is something that will require a proper clean-up job at the very top of the game. However, it will remain a good place for the players to play in front of adoring crowds, earn some good money and further sharpen their skills in a bid to go on to claim more national glory in the future.
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