A season of extreme highs and equal lows has finally come down to its conclusion, with Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors set to lock horns for their first-ever Pro Kabaddi League title on Saturday at the EKA Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad.
Both Delhi and Bengal have crossed paths twice in the season and there was nothing to separate the two in the first tie. A neck-to-neck encounter in August at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Chennai, saw the teams sharing the stakes after a 30-30 draw. The second game, on September 30, though saw Maninder Singh finishing the game with 13 raid points to guide Bengal to an impressive 42-33 win.
Road to final
Delhi, having failed to qualify for the Playoffs in all of their first five seasons of the competition, directly made it to the semi-final 1 after finishing at the top of the table. Up against the defending champions, Bengaluru Bulls, the Delhi-based team rode on the back of Naveen Kumar’s 13 raid points to register a 44-38 victory to make their way into the final.
Bengal, on the other hand, made it to the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive season, and a second-place finish meant that they were given a similar luxury of directly getting a place in the semi-finals. A stern test against U Mumba awaited, and Bengal somehow managed to hold the nerve in a narrow 37-35 win.
A battle of contrasting figures
Three of Bengal’s raiding quartet – Sukesh Hegde, K. Prapanjan and Maninder Singh – have experience of playing more than 75 games in the Pro Kabaddi League since its inception. In defence though, apart from Jeeva Kumar, no one amongst Rinku Narwal, Baldev Singh and Mayur Shivtarkar have even crossed the 50-game mark.
Delhi, on their part, share contrasting figures, with their defence boasting of abundant experience, while the raiding department – apart from Meraj Sheykh – yet to reach big numbers.
Experience of Bengal vs Delhi in PKL (Overall)
Dabang Delhi K.C
What do the statistics say?
Bengal Warriors, who are the only team this season to go undefeated against Delhi, have been the most accurate unit in terms of raiding accuracy, having the least failed raid percentage (19.5%). Delhi, on the other hand, aren’t behind by much. Their failed raid percentage of 20.5% is only the second-lowest in the league.
Comparison of Raid Units
Average Raid Points
Failed Raid %
In terms of wreaking the most number of all-outs, Delhi edge Bengal by just one unit, having inflicted 39 all-outs (most by any team) in the season. Bengal, however, make up for their figures as they conceded the least all-outs (22) in the competition.
Delhi also have expertise in clinching bonus points, with both Naveen Kumar and Chandran Ranjit acquiring mastery at it. Their figure of an average 5.8 bonus points per game is only the second-best this season.
Bengal, on the other hand, carry contrary numbers as they have conceded 5.4 bonus points per game, which is the second-highest in the league.
Are Bengal any good without Maninder?
Maninder, who remains a doubt for the final, has been Bengal’s guiding force this season, having accumulated 205 raid points (42% of team’s total) in the season so far. One might wonder his absence might affect the team big-time, but the likes of K Prapanjan, Mohammed Nabibakhsh and Sukesh Hegde have put up a great show in the last three games.
Impact of Maninder Singh in Bengal's raid unit - PKL 7
Average Raid Points
Average Bonus Points
Failed Raid %
Nabibakhsh, in particular, has been an absolute delight against Delhi, having a 6-0 record against an experienced defensive unit as Delhi.
Bengal, in fact, are only one of the three teams this season to have five different raiders scoring at least one SUPER 10.
Are there any personal milestones?
- Starting off with Sukesh Hegde, it will be the raider’s 100th PKL match.
- Dabang Delhi’s Vishal Mane needs threetackle points to reach 200 tackle points in the competition.
- Vishal, in fact, is chasing another record. If Delhi manage to win the final, he will become the first player in PKL history to be a part of threedifferent title-winning teams (Season 2 with U Mumba, Season 5 with Patna Pirates and Season 7 with Dabang Delhi).
- This is Bengal’s Jeeva Kumar’s fourth final (won 1, lost 2). All his previous finals were with U Mumba (PKL 1to 3).
Feature image courtesy: Star Sports & PKL