The third leg of the fifth season came to an end with Gujarat Fortunegiants play out an exciting 26-26 draw against Bengal Warriors. Earlier, Iranian duo of Meraj Sheykh and Abolfazl Maghsodlou guided Dabang Delhi to their second win, defeating Tamil Thalaivas in an evenly played contest. After hosting the Kabaddi World Cup in 2016, Ahmedabad once again showcased its love for the sport and their home team as each game played at the Arena by TransStadia witnessed full house. Being one of the four new teams introduced in this season, Gujarat was the only team which exhibited sheer dominance at home as they concluded their home leg with a six-match unbeaten streak. Much credit for their performance goes to their young squad and defenders Abozar Mighani and Fazel Atrachali. Filled with confidence and self-belief, coach Manpreet Singh expects his team to continue in the same vein in the upcoming fixtures. It was also the first time that teams from both the zones went head to head against each other.
Match of the week: Patna Pirates, UP Yoddha 27-27 tie
In a match where UP Yoddha completely out hauled Patna Pirates, Pardeep Narwal’s late surge helped his side come back from the brink of defeat. It was the first time that a team had managed to keep the ‘Dupki King’ out of the mat for almost 10 minutes. In the dying moments, Patna trailed UP by 21-26 before Pardeep picked up five points from four consecutive raids as the two teams shared the honours. When the referee blew the final whistle, the scoreline red 27-27.
Youngsters step up
It was the youngsters who stood out and did the job for their respective teams. Gujarat Fortunegiants trio of Sachin Tawar, Mahinder Rajput and Rohit Gulia, Tamil Thalaivas raider Prapanjan. But the standout performer amongst the youngsters was the 18-year old Sachin. In every Fortunegiants match, Sachin’s performance continued to improve as the raider cumulated 37+ points from six matches. His best came against the struggling Telugu Titans where he scored his maiden PKL super 10. With support from the coach and seniors, Sachin has performed exceptionally well. The story so far has been that each team has struggled to keep Sachin out of action.
Raid of the week
Mahendra Rajput’s raid against Bengal Warriors: After winning five games on the trot, Gujarat were on the verge of ending their home leg with a disappointing loss against Bengal Warriors. With the clock ticking and only less than four minutes in hand, Gujarat relied on their fortunes to help them cross the line as they trailed 21-23. And the miracle came from Mahendra as he fetched them five points in his second last raid giving them a three point lead. The 28-year managed to touch the half line despite Bhupender Singh and Deepak Narwal and Surjeet holding him tight. However, Fortunegiants had to settle for a draw and share three points with the Warriors.
After suffering a narrow defeat against Jaipur Pink Panthers, most eyes were on Deepak Niwas Hooda, who turned 24 on the day, to help Puneri Paltan cross the line. But it was Sandeep Narwal who powered his side to a commanding 34-17 win over Bengal Warriors. Sandeep’s all-round abilities. In a match which was equally fought before Narwal’s super raid changed the direction of the game in Pune’s side. Sandeep, who was adjudged the player of the match, was so effective that he made it look so easy. He was the highest scorer with seven points, four tackle points and three touch points. Known as one of the best all-rounders in the current pack, Sandeep’s performance was something special.