Story of how the PKL finals have panned out so far
The Pro Kabaddi League has had a thrilling history and the finals of the tournament have been equally gripping. In this piece, we will take a look at the final matches of all the seven seasons so far and how the teams have written their names in history.
Season 1- U Mumba vs Jaipur Pink Panthers
Table-toppers in the league stage, U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers met in the final of the inaugural edition of the Pro Kabaddi League. The franchise based out of the pink city clinched the title as they won the final 34-22. U Mumba went ahead with an early lead but the Jasvir-led side was quick to learn from their mistakes.
Skipper Anup Kumar was the lone star for U Mumba as he grabbed 17 points in the game but the second-best raider could manage only a couple of points. The corner duo of Surender Nada and Mohit Chillar returned with a solitary point as Maninder Singh was impressive for the champions.
Season 2- U Mumba vs Bengaluru Bulls
U Mumba was second-time lucky as they were crowned PKL champions. The Anup Kumar-led side was dominant throughout the tournament and held their nerve to overcome a star-studded Bengaluru Bulls by a scoreline of 36-30. Shabeer Bapu was the player of the match and picked 9 points in the raiding department. Shabeer’s super raid in the 36th minute of the match turned the tide in U Mumba’s favour as the scoreline turned to 29-24 and the home side kept their grip on the match until the final whistle.
Season 3- U Mumba vs Patna Pirates
U Mumba was a dominant side in the early years of the Pro Kabaddi League and their 3rd consecutive finale appearance was a testament to that fact. But the baton passed on to the Patna Pirates, as the green outfit started their dominance with a 31-28 victory over the defending champions in the final of season 3. Anup Kumar and Mohit Chillar were the key players for U Mumba but they lacked support from experienced stars like Rakesh Kumar and Jeeva Kumar.
Patna was dominant from the start of the match with a 19-11 lead but U Mumba stormed back into the contest as they levelled scores at 28-28 with little more than a minute to go. Deepak Narwal’s successful raid sealed the deal for the franchise.
Season 4- Patna Pirates vs Jaipur Pink Panthers
The PKL returned for its second edition of the year but the result remained the same as Patna won the final 37-29. Patna Pirates successfully defended their title as they defeated the inaugural champions Jaipur Pink Panthers in a fairly one-sided contest. It was a battle between the two key raiders Pardeep Narwal and Jasvir Singh as they scored 16 and 13 raid points. Patna defence ably supported Pardeep’s attacking efforts. Rajesh Narwal gave his best for the Panthers but overall the Panthers managed a lacklustre performance on the night of the final.
Season 5- Patna Pirates vs Gujarat Fortunegiants
The Pro Kabaddi League added four more teams for the 5th season of the tournament and one of the new teams led by old workhorse Fazel Atrachali qualified for the final. But Pardeep Narwal and co. continued their dominance as they completed a hat-trick of titles.
Pardeep Narwal had been in the form of his life during the course of the tournament and his brilliance on the mat help the Pirates in the finale.
For the losing finalists, Sachin was the show stealer while Mahendra Rajput and Chandra Ranjit were the second and third-best point collectors.
Season 6- Gujarat Fortunegiants vs Bengaluru Bulls
If it was Pardeep Narwal in the earlier editions of the PKL, it was Pawan Kumar Sehrawat in this final. Bengaluru Bulls won their maiden title as the Fortunegiants ended up on the wrong side of the final for the second consecutive edition. The Fazel Atrachali-led side was in a commanding position at 9-16 but Pawan Kumar singlehandedly pulled back the match with a 22-point effort. The teams were in a stiff competition at 29-all but Bengaluru handled pressure well.
Season 7- Bengal Warriors vs Dabang Delhi
The organisers experimented with the format of the league as they moved away from the zone-based system and implemented a double round-robin format. The final was played out between the team who had been a part of the league since its inception but never appeared in the final game of the tournament.
Bengal Warriors, in the absence of star raider Maninder Singh, defeated Dabang Delhi 39-34. The Warriors made a comeback in the last 10 minutes of the first half of the contest with 11 points. The champions rode on the momentum in the second half as they inflicted a couple of all outs on their opponents to take home the coveted trophy.