The VIVO Pro Kabaddi League 2019 enters its final phase of league stage games over the next two weeks. But much has changed since the last update. All our predictions have gone for a toss – and that’s the beauty of the biggest Kabaddi tournament in the world. Most of the 12 teams have played 15 games each, while the current home team is the Bengal Warriors.
Let’s take a look at the five prime talking points of Pro Kabaddi League 2019:
THE BULLS ARE BACK
Defending champions Bengaluru Bulls, driven by MVP Pawan Kumar Sehrawat, have made a long-overdue comeback after falling below the sixth position before playing at home. They know how to win, even when they’re losing. They have managed precious points in close games. For example, their last three match scores read: 40-39 (Telugu Titans), 40-39 (Patna Pirates) and 33-27 (Tamil Thalaivas). As of now, they lie 4th in the points table, a good 6 points ahead of fifth-placed U Mumba and just a point behind the Haryana Steelers. They may not finish first in the table again, but making the playoffs and defending their title will be of primary interest to them.
DELHI WITH A CAPITAL D
Dabang Delhi are well on their way to breaking the league table points record that the Gujarat Fortune Giants managed last season. The league leaders have lost only 2 matches out of 14, one of which was a shock defeat to the Haryana Steelers 25-47 a few days ago. But the true character of the team was displayed when they returned the very next day and swatted aside the Tamil Thalaivas 50-34 with a solid raiding performance and a redemption story in less than 24 hours. With 59 points already and 8 games to go, one of PKL’s most underperforming teams is well on its way to a definitive season tally. It’ll be a miracle if the team doesn’t finish on top.
SHINING NEWBIES NO MORE
Twice in a row now, the Gujarat Fortune Giants have been the runners-up in the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League. But this year, they might not have to face the heartbreak of watching another team lift the trophy in front of them. Because, as things stand, the Fortune Giants are in unchartered territory – they have lost (8) more than they have won (5), and lie 8th in a table, trailing the 7th-placed team by 7 points. The Giants may not make the playoffs, but given their pedigree, one wouldn’t bet against them winning at least 5 of their last 8 matches. Yet, it’s hard to imagine them being “third time lucky”.
FALL FROM GRACE
The Patna Pirates are the most successful Kabaddi team in PKL history – 3 titles. But the 2019 season has been one to forget. The Pirates remain one of only two teams (Bulls being the other) to have not drawn a single game. But they have lost 10 out of 14 games, putting them in the last position, two points behind the struggling Thalaivas and 4 behind the Puneri Paltans. But they have the least point difference out of all the bottom-placed teams (-17), proving that the Pirates have just lacked that killer instinct. They have the quality – but they have lost the maximum number of close matches in the season. Not even draws, just plain defeats.
As it should be, the battle for 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place is the closest in the league. 8 points separate 3rd and 7th position right now. In fact, U Mumba, UP Yoddha and the Jaipur Pink Panthers (who have been in decline for weeks) are separated by 2 points in 5th, 6th, and 7th places. All three have won 7 matches, but the Yoddha has easily been the most interesting team in PKL 2019. Their point-difference is a stunning -49, which means they have lost the 5 games heavily but also managed to win their 7 games against the odds. One would imagine the Yoddha to scrape through in 6th eventually, leaving the Pink Panthers and the Bulls to fight it out.
Don’t miss out on the action at Pro Kabaddi League 2019. Book your tickets here!