Season 5 of Pro Kabaddi has been blazing away relentlessly since the month of July, and has exactly a month to go out of its three months.
Today’s Inter-zone match between the Tamil Thailavas and Puneri Paltan will be the 100th match of the league – with just 38 to go. The second match of the day will be between league toppers of the two zones, newbies Gujarat Fortunegiants and defending champions Patna Pirates.
Though the Haryana Steelers effectively lead Zone A, it’s the Gujarat Fortunegiants – who only narrowly lost a thriller on Tuesday to Tamil Thailavas – who are in pole position with two extra games (16 to Haryana’s 18) in hand. Both teams have won 9 matches each. Though it’s a close race at the top, Dabang Delhi Kabaddi Club are sure to finish last. They are 7 points adrift of ex champions Jaipur Pink Panthers even though they have played 5 extra games.
The top 3 will move to the playoffs. While Haryana and Gujarat are sure to finish in the top three, currently Pune Paltans (who are
Prediction:fourth position) having played only 12 games are also in a position to move into the top two and perhaps lead the table by the end. They have won an impressive 9 out of 12 games with only 3 losses and no ties. U Mumba are third right now, but might face an uphill battle because they have played 5 more games than Pune and are only narrowly ahead.in
Top 3: Puneri Paltan, Gujarat Fortunegiants, Haryana Steelers
The Patna Pirates are in the perfect position to once again end on top of the league – the only team to have 10 wins to their name so far. They are well clear of second-placed Bengal Warriors after having played 18 games each. It’s third place that could be interesting: UP Yoddha are third, five points ahead of the Telugu Titans. These two could be in a battle for this final qualifying position – though Yoddha, with two extra games in hand, look good to make it out of the group with the top two. There is no way any of them will catch the Pirates or even the Warriors.
Patna Pirates, Bengal Warriors, UP Yoddha – in this order.
Patna Pirates’ star raider Pradeep Narwal – who has terrorized defenses for the last two seasons – currently tops the points table with a stunning 238 raid points in 18 games for his team. He has 179 successful raids, way ahead of second-placed defender-turned-raider and captain Rahul Chaudhuri’s 130 raids for the Telugu Titans.
Narwal also leads the Super Raids and Super 10s standings with 11 and 14 respectively, and looks good to add plenty more.
Chaudhuri’s teammate, Vishal Bhardwaj, is the top defender of the league so far with 59 successful tackles so far. The Titans will need both to continue their form if they have to break into the top 3 and overtake UP Yoddha.
Match 9: Gujarat Fortunegiants tied the match with Haryana Steelers last month at 27-27, setting the stage for a top-of-the-table battle for the next many weeks.
Match 73: The Bengal Warriors narrowly defeated the Telugu Titans 32-31 in a thriller in early September after trailing 20-30 at one point in the second half. A comeback for the ages, as the Warriors scored 11 of the next 12 points in the match!
Match 94: The Tamil Thailavas pulled off the most unlikely comeback of the tournament when they defeated the Gujarat Fortunegiants 35-34 this week. At one point, the Thailavas were 23-34 down, and scored the next 12 points in a row to take it in a memorable thriller.
Match 56: After trailing 28-35 at one stage, second-placed Bengal Warriors came back to defeat defending champs Patna Pirates 41-38 in a nail biter of a game – with Maninder Singh becoming the raid hero for his team, outshining a subdued Narwal in the closing stages.