An exhilarating, three-month long Season 7 of Pro Kabaddi League has reached its culmination with Dabang Delhi KC set to battle Bengal Warriors for the coveted title at the EKA Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
Judging by the season’s performances, both table toppers and maiden finalists have deserved the right to play in the final, after having finished the league stages.
Interestingly, this will be the first time both Delhi and Bengal will play in the final which is a testimony to how tough and closely fought the current season of VIVO PKL has been. Pre-season favourites Tamil Thalaivas and three-time champions Patna Pirates struggled to impress while teams like UP Yoddha, with no real superstars in their ranks, dominated the league stages by utilising young players identified through the Future Kabaddi Heroes (FKH) programme.
THE UNHERALDED HEROES
While the likes of Delhi’s Naveen Kumar and Bengal’s Maninder Singh have walked away with the plaudits, the teams’ success on the mat have come largely due to their cohesion. Delhi’s semi-final match against Bengaluru Bulls was an example of how backup raiders Chandran Ranjit and Vijay are vital cogs in the Dabang unit, contributing in both tackles and raids. Similarly in defence, while Ravinder Pahal and Joginder Narwal grabbed the limelight, Vishal Mane has gone about doing his work quietly as a cover defender. The seasoned defender now has the opportunity to become the first player in vivo Pro Kabaddi history to win the title with three different teams (having already won with U Mumba and Patna Pirates).
Bengal Warriors also have a fair share of unsung heroes. Sukesh Hegde, who will be playing his 100th VIVO PKL match, has thrown down the gauntlet to his doubters who called him a ‘spent force’ with vital raid points whenever his team needed them. K Prapanjan has also had a breakout season for the Warriors as a raider. Both players will be keen to avoid a defeat having suffered a heartbreak while playing for Gujarat FortuneGiants in earlier seasons.
STOPPING THE UNSTOPPABLE
Both Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors have a wealth of talent as far as raiders go which would mean that the match will come down to which set of defenders play better. In Rinku Narwal and Baldev Singh, the Warriors have a strong corner duo, who have impressed with tackle points this season. Both are relatively inexperienced compared to Delhi’s defensive stalwarts Joginder Narwal, Ravinder Pahal and Vishal Mane. However, the inexperienced duo will be looking to show that they are no easy pushovers by trying to make a statement against an in-form Naveen Kumar who will be targeting his 21st consecutive Super 10. Both the teams are also at the top two in terms of most all-outs inflicted and least all-outs conceded this season (net All-Out of +16 for both teams).
PKL will have a new winner as both the teams are playing their first final.
TUNE IN details for finals on Saturday:
Ø Coverage begins with Pre-show at 7:00 pm
Ø World feed starts at 7:50 pm
Fans can catch all the action on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports first, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Kannada, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Sports 1 Marathi with simulcast on the Star’s OTT platform Hotstar.