Periyar Panthers and Murthal Magnets start off as favourites in the Challenger Round of YKS
The Booster Round of the Yuva Kabaddi Series saw 8 teams competing with each other over 56 games in a double round robin format. Out of the 11 teams that featured in the Survival Round, 8 of them qualified for the Booster Round.
The first half of the Booster Round was dominated by the Periyar Panthers. The Panthers managed to put up some splendid performances as the team eventually ended up at the 2nd position, bagging 56 points from the 14 games, scoring at around 4 points per game. For the Panthers, both Ashish Narwal and Naveen Sharma proved to be the key players, as both of them were on a spectacular run in the booster round. Ashish has so far scored 302 points, the 2nd most for a raider in the league so far. Naveen Sharma has scored 91 tackle points, and is at the top amongst the defenders in terms of the total tackle points in the league.
In the 2nd half of the Booster Round, Murthal Magnets emerged as the most successful team as they went on to be on top of the table, bagging 64 points in 14 games, also scoring 4.571 points per game. For the Murthal Magnets, Ashu Malik and Krishan Dhull were the star performers, as both the players ensured that the Magnets continued to maintain the top spot in the points table. While Ashu has so far scored 195 raid points in the series, Krishan Dhull has scored 86 tackle points, ending up just behind Naveen Sharma, who is currently leading with 91 tackle points.
The Booster Round also witnessed a three-way tie between Kaziranga Rhinos, Tadoba Tigers and Panhala Pride on the final day of the Booster Round. Among the 3 of them, Kaziranga Rhinos and Tadoba Tigers managed to qualify for the next round, with both ending the Booster Round with 40 points, while Panhala Pride failed to qualify for the Challenger Round, ending up with 39 points from the 14 games, missing out on a place in the Top 6.
Missing out on a berth in the Challenger Round meant both Panhala Pride and Maratha Marvels were relegated from Yuva Kabaddi Series, as the teams ended up in the bottom 2 among a total of 8 teams that were competing with each other in the Booster Round, with only 6 teams advancing to the next round.
Our Predictions for the Challenger Round
With the top 6 teams that have advanced for the Challenger Series, it would be expected that the teams might spring a few surprises by fielding their top players who haven’t yet been in action for the series till now, with a certain amount of rotation also coming into effect. It would be important for the teams to strike a balance in terms of playing the right combination for the games, in order to effectively compete in the Challenger Round, making a better case for qualifying for the Playoffs.
Murthal Magnets and Periyar Panthers look all set to battle it out for the top two ranks. The teams ranked 1 and 2 will find themselves just 1 match away from the finals. So the matches between these two teams will be worth a watch.
Aravalli Arrows have been a revelation this season with raider Jai Bhagwan and defender Lokesh Ghosliya leading from the front. Hampi Heroes, Tadoba Tigers and Kaziranga Rhinos have just about survived through Booster round. They will need to rejig their squads and strategy to make a mark in the Challenger round.