Top 6 Teams of PKL 8 who have made it to the Playoffs- Summary
As we gear up for the playoffs, here's a look at the 6 teams who'll be battling it out to win the 8th season of the Pro Kabaddi League.
Going into the league with a combination of lesser-known faces and budding players, the 3-time defending champions started the season on a high, winning 4 out of their 5 league games, with the only loss coming against UP Yoddha by just 1 point. Barring a few hiccups in between, it was an easy road for the team as they went on to become the 1st team to qualify for the playoffs. The defensive unit proved to be the strong point for the Pirates, with defenders like MohammadReza Shadloui, Neeraj Kumar and Sunil Kumar excelling big time. The team ended up scoring most no of tackle points (269). Patna would be directly playing the winner of the eliminator between UP Yoddha and Puneri Paltan in the 1st semi-final.
2. Dabang Delhi
Coming into this season as the runners-up of the previous edition, Delhi wanted to leave a mark this season. And quite supposedly, the team had a dream start to the season, remaining unbeaten in the first 7 games of the season. But the team was dealt with a few injuries caused to their key players like Ajay Thakur and Naveen Kumar during their campaign, which affected the team to a certain degree. But the team managed to come back on track after a few games, to become the 2nd team after Patna to qualify for the playoffs. Delhi would be facing the winner of the eliminator between Gujarat Giants and Bengaluru Bulls in the 2nd semi-final.
3. UP Yoddha
UP Yoddha didn't had the best of starts to the 8th season, winning only 4 games in the 1st half of the season. Even in the beginning phase of the 2nd half, the team seemed to struggle in terms of winning the games. But UP made a fantastic comeback towards the end phase, winning 5 of their last 6 games, ensuring a berth for the playoffs. UP Yoddha's strength was their raiding department, with Surender Gill being their top-performer for this season. The return of an in-form Pardeep Narwal worked out really well, as the player went on to score 4 consecutive Super 10s in the last 5 games, thus ensuring a playoff berth for the team. UP would be facing Puneri Paltan in the 1st eliminator.
After failing to qualify for the playoffs last time around, finishing at the 8th position, Gujarat Giants had an important task ahead of them. It was a mixed start for the team, not being able to finish games that well. Just like UP, Gujarat also faltered on their way till the beginning of the 2nd half. But courtesy of some good performances by the whole unit, the team went on to lose only once in their last 7 outings of the league stage. It was a result of collective performances from both the raiders and defenders that helped Gujarat to seal a place in the playoffs. Gujarat Giants would be facing Bengaluru Bulls in the 2nd eliminator.
Bengaluru Bulls had a wonderful start to their PKL campaign. Though the team lost their 1st game against U Mumba, the team followed that with a 6-game unbeaten streak. Bengaluru faltered on its way in the 2nd half of the tournament, managing to win on just 4 occasions. But their performance in the initial games helped the team big time as it managed to reach the playoffs. Pawan Sehrawat as the star raider once again delivered for the Bulls, scoring 220 raid points for the season. The duo of Saurabh Nandal and Aman played a key role in the defense, as Bulls was the 3rd best defensive unit in the league, just behind Patna Pirates and Puneri Paltan. Bengaluru Bulls would be facing Gujarat Giants in the 2nd eliminator.
After a disappointing 11th place finish last year, Puneri Paltan, under coach Anup Kumar, aimed for an improved performance this time around. It wasn't the best of start for the team, as they struggled to win in the first leg. But a spectacular start in the 2nd half of the tournament bought the team back in contention for a berth in the playoffs. The defensive unit for the Paltan significantly improved in the latter half. The unit, led by Sombir, not only played a vital role for the Paltan, but also paved the way for a good finish, at what could be a potential qualifying spot for the team. Puneri Paltan went on to win their last game against Jaipur Pink Panthers, also ensuring their qualification for the playoffs. The team would be facing UP Yoddha in the 1st eliminator.