Updated: February 3, 2016 9:48:46 pm
The second leg of the travelling Pro Kabaddi caravan We’re in the garden city of Bengaluru, home of the new look, fearless, young Bengaluru Bulls, who many (including me) thought were hit the hardest through the player trades in the off season. The Bulls may have lost an army of stars but importantly, gained a leader in Surjeet Narwal and retained a mastermind in Coach Randhir Singh who is known to extract the most out of his players.
After out-thinking and outplaying the more fancied and star studded Dabang Delhi squad in Vizag, the Bulls come home with renewed hope and know that with 20 points up for grabs, they cannot afford to let momentum slip and would need to continue to play their fearless brand of Kabaddi. U Mumba, Delhi and Patna Pirates all play two games each in Bengaluru while the remaining teams play a game each in this four-day leg.
Vizag was to set the tone for the tournament, but at the end of the four day bonanza, all that we can conclude is that Season 3 of Pro Kabaddi is the closest we’ve ever seen and with more balanced squads, every game becomes vital.
This applies even to a champion side like U Mumba who started in terrific fashion but following a loss to inaugural Champs Jaipur, need to use the Kanteerva Indoor stadium in Bengaluru as a launch pad for the rest of their season.
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They face Delhi and Patna and have to treat them as must wins to ease pressure on themselves at a later stage.
Dabang Delhi don’t have it any easier this leg as they take on U Mumba on Day 2 and open their Bengaluru leg versus Manjeet Chillar’s Pune side who would want to recover strong from a heart wrenching one point loss to the Telugu Titans. Patna & Bengal were exceptional in Vizag and while Patna would look to continue their aggressive raiding style, Bengal under the experienced Nilesh Shinde proved that a cohesive defensive unit could slay the best in the business including Rahul Chaudhari and the Titan’s 4-pronged raiding attack!
Men to watch
Dabang Delhi’s start was far from encouraging but debutant Surjeet Singh has already made quite a statement and lived up to the expectations that he carried into the league from Services. The duo of Kashiling and Surjeet has started to fire and if Delhi’s defense with Ravinder Pahal can just pull itself together, they will make rapid strides up the leaderboard.
It’s Bengaluru’s home leg and it’s time for their “Flying Machine” Surjeet Narwal to unleash the monster jumps over the chained tackles. He now has support in the form of Amit Rathi and Shrikant Tewthia and Coach Randhir has given them to license to play with complete freedom.
U Mumba’s raiders are under the scanner and need to come back strong in their two games. Expect coach Bhaskaran to utilize Rishank a bit more and maybe hold back Rakesh Kumar to give Shabeer Bapu a proper run. The defensive combo of Surender + Mohit also needs to work in tandem for further success.
Patna have given us a glimpse of a superstar in young Rohit Kumar and while still relatively unknown, I for one, would not be surprised if his name was close to the top of the Raiders’ leaderboard at the end of Season 3. Sunil on their left corner has been stunning, specifically in combination with their main man on the right corner, The Beast from the East, Sandeep Narwal!
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