Best of ‘Baahubali’: Siddharth Desai’s greatest performances
Tall, strong, agile, and intimidating, raider Siddharth Desai has been a force to be reckoned with from his very first Pro Kabaddi appearance during Season 6, in the Maharashtra Derby against Puneri Paltan.
In his rookie year, Desai started just 20 matches but still managed to score 221 points for U Mumba, setting a new record for most points by a rookie in the Pro Kabaddi league. His bullish strength and a knack for powering his way through tackles earned him the nickname, the ‘Baahubali’, which translates to ‘the one with strong arms’.
Desai endured a rough start to his second campaign in the Pro Kabaddi league with Telugu Titans, but soon found his groove and finished with 220 points in Season 7.
In just two seasons, Desai has delivered a slew of stellar performances, and we take a look at some of his best:
23 points vs. Bengaluru Bulls in Season 7
In what was one of the best duels in Pro Kabaddi history, Bengaluru Bulls’ Pawan Sehrawat and Desai were toe-to-toe in a back-and-forth raiding battle to produce one of the most thrilling contests of Season 7.
With his team trailing by eight and just over three minutes left in the contest, Desai produced a six-point raid to help his side cut the deficit to a mere two. After Sehrawat made it a three-point game with a successful raid, Desai delivered yet again, scoring another Super Raid to level the scores at 36-36. Sehrawat’s two-point raid added a couple of more points to his team’s total, but Desai responded with two consecutive successful raids to bring parity to the scoreline.
However, another two-point raid from Sehrawat sealed the deal for the Bulls as their defence sacrificed a point to Desai in the final raid of the contest to secure victory by the narrowest of margins. Desai finished the match with 22 raid points and a tackle point, his best performance in the Pro Kabaddi league.
22 points vs Jaipur Pink Panthers in Season 7
Winless in five matches, Telugu Titans were in a rut and needed an inspired performance to turn their campaign around. So, Desai delivered one.
Against Jaipur Pink Panthers, Desai torched the defence and scored 22 points in a mammoth 51-31 victory for the Telugu Titans. The Baahubali started the game with nine straight successful raids, which included two Super Raids. Desai scored his third Super Raid of the night, a joint career-high, in the second half, and was tackled just twice by the Panthers’ defence. A superb showing from Super Sid.
19 points vs. Dabang Delhi K.C. in Season 6
In his debut campaign with U Mumba, Desai had the Midas’ Touch and it was on full display in his best performance of the campaign against Dabang Delhi K.C.
The raider bludgeoned the Delhi defence for 19 raid points in just 10 successful raid attempts in U Mumba’s 41-34 victory over the team from the capital. Desai outshone fellow rookie Naveen Kumar, who finished with 12 raid points, by recording nine multi-point raids on the night, which included three Super Raids. Desai recorded a strike rate of 118.75, a stellar performance for the superstar.
18 points vs. Haryana Steelers in Season 7
With just 50 raid points in his eight matches in Season 7, a mark he reached in just four matches in his debut campaign, Desai was in the hunt for a big performance to kickstart his and Telugu Titans’ campaign, and he did just that against Haryana Steelers.
Desai exploded for 18 raid points in 18 raid attempts against a hapless defence, to guide Telugu Titans to a 40-29 victory. The Baahubali was unplayable on the night, recording 14 successful raids and just three empty raids in his first 17 raids. Desai’s perfect day was spoilt by an unsuccessful Do-or-Die raid attempt in the penultimate minute of the contest. However, the raider had already ended the match with his incredible display.
17 points vs. Telugu Titans in Season 6
Before he joined them in Season 7, Desai delivered one of the best performances of his rookie year against Telugu Titans for U Mumba in Season 6.
The Baahubali massacred every defender in his way and scored 17 raid points in just 19 attempts, leading U Mumba to an easy 41-20 victory over the Titans. Desai picked up a point in at least 10 of his first 11 raids on the night. The raider gave away just a couple of tackle points, courtesy of a Super Raid, however, his Super Raid a minute prior negated the effect that his unsuccessful raid had on the scoreline.
Feature image courtesy: ProKabaddi.com