At the end of Match 46 of the 8th season of PKL, here’s how the players and the eight teams fared…
The 2021-22 Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) kickstarted with Bengaluru Bulls taking on Mumba U, who secured a close victory. The second fixture caught everyone’s attention as Tamil Thalaivas were held at a 40-40 draw by Telugu Titans. After a few close games, Gujarat Giants and Dabang Delhi opened the trend of registering big victories as they thrashed Jaipur Pink Panthers and Puneri Paltan respectively.
- Dabang Delhi have 32 points from eight games in the 2021-22 Pro Kabaddi League and are at the top of the points table. Joginder Narwal-led side suffered their first defeat of the season on Jan. 10 (Monday) as they were beaten 30-28 by Jaipur Pink Panthers, bringing Delhi’s unbeaten streak of seven games.
- Patna Piraes have 29 points from seven games but have a match in hand.
- Third in the table, Bengaluru Bulls faced a step back on Jan. 9 (Sunday) as they shockingly lost 27-42 to UP Yoddha, which is present in the sixth spot.
Which teams are most likely to lift the trophy?
During the first few seasons, Patna Pirates dominated the rest of the teams on consistent basis but there has been a new winner in each of the last three seasons. As of now, Delhi and Patna have been consistent and in the ongoing season, the said two teams are among the favourites to win the title.
In addition, Patna have the experience in the past to reach glory as no other team has won the league more times than Patna – 3 times, on the other hand Delhi are aiming to win their maiden title and look in a better position to win it, thanks to the dominance of their raider Naveen Kumar.
The top two teams at the end of the group stage will earn a direct place in the semi-final.
TIP Delhi are one of the favorites mainly because of their raider Naveen Kumar, who continues to be the number one raider in Pro Kabaddi 2021-22 with 126 raid points to his name from just eight matches. The Dabang Delhi star bagged his seventh consecutive Super 10 of the tournament against UP Yoddha earlier this season.
U Mumba, Tamil Thalaivas, and Haryana Steelers, along with Bengaluru, are currently in the eliminator space, but would definitely aim to finish in the top two. You can expect these four teams to go all out in the coming days in order to earn a direct qualification for the semi-finals.
U Mumba, captained by Fazel Atrachali, have been struggling in recent times, having managed to secure just two victories in their previous five outings in the underway campaign. Overall, the former champions have won only three games, drawn three and lost one in the ongoing season.
TIP Captained by Pawan Kumar Sehrawat, Bangalore, who won the sixth season, have a better chance than the other three teams to make it to the top two despite their latest defeat to Yoddha.
Will this season’s underdogs turn the tables?
Meanwhile, the bottom two sides of the table are having a forgettable season: Gujarat Giants and Telugu Titans. While Gujarat have won a game, Titans are yet to register their maiden win of the 2021-22 season.
An unfortunate injury to star-raider Siddharth Desai has made matters worse for Titans, in addition to captain Rohit Kumar’s poor shows. Rohit, who finished as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) from Patna Pirates’ title-winning season in PKL 3, has failed to deliver for his side this season as he has picked up just six points from five games he has played so far.
Noteworthy, reigning champions Bengal Warriors have been the most disappointing so far as they have managed to win only three out of their eight games and in their previous six outings, Bengal have won only one game. However, they can still catch everyone by surprise. You can back them at 4.50 to take the trophy home.
Players to watch out for…
Among the defenders, Haryana Steelers’ Surender Nada and Tamil Thaliavas’ Surjeet Singh have been the best among the lot, while the duo has been joined by UP Yoddha’s Sumit in the top three of the tackle points. Sumit has 22 tackle points from eight games, in comparison to Haryana Steelers’ Jaideep also has 22 tackle points, the same as Nada and Singh.
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