The second season of the Pro Kabaddi League has completed two of its eight-legged league stage, with last season's finalists U Mumba continuing to hold top spot after winning all their five games so far. After a first leg that was dominated by U Mumba at home, the second leg saw Bengal Warriors lose crucial games in Kolkata, which will hurt their chances of making it to the semifinals.
Bengal Warriors in a spot of bother; Bengaluru and Delhi post wins
Following on from a thrilling first leg, the second leg in Kolkata commenced in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and former cricketer Sourav Ganguly. The latter sang the national anthem to inaugurate the leg. Home team Bengal Warriors took on defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers in the opening game, and stunned the North Indian outfit by a scoreline of 28-26.
In their next game, Bengal Warriors were in the driving seat against a stronger Telegu Titans team, leading 30-27 with minutes to go, but managed to lose 30-32 after some last minute heroics from the Titans. Their next game against an in-form U Mumba saw them come second-best again, as the Ronnie Screwvala-owned side won 29-25. Warriors ended the home campaign with a crushing 21-32 defeat at the hands of Dabang Delhi.
In the other games, Bengaluru Bulls posted identical 31-26 wins over Patna Pirates and Puneri Paltan. Dabang Delhi, meanwhile, edged out Puneri Paltan 38-37 in a dramatic encounter on 24 July, a day before their comfortable win over Bengal Warriors. U Mumba remain at the top of the table with 25 points, 10 ahead of Telegu Titans, who have two games in hand. Bengaluru remain level with Titans, having played a game more, while Dabang Delhi occupy the final semi-final spot with 10 points.
The best performers
Manjit Chillar has been the star performer for the Bengaluru Bulls, playing crucial roles in both their victories. On the other hand, Puneri Paltans' Wazir Shah has performed commendably as well, despite his team's failure to win any games. In U Mumba's win, both Anup Kumar and Jeeva Kumar helped the team come back from the brink to lodge a 29-25 victory. Other prominent performers include Rohit Choudhary and Ravinder Pahal of Dabang Delhi.
Next stop: Jaipur
The tournament now moves on to its 3rd leg in Jaipur on Sunday, 26 July. Singer Akriti Kakkar will sing the national anthem on the opening night of the leg, where hosts Jaipur Pink Panthers will hope to post their first win of the season against Patna Pirates. The Jaipur franchise, owned by Abhishek Bachchan, will face in-form sides Telegu Titans, Bengaluru Bulls and Dabang Delhi later in the leg, and failure to win some of these games will see them losing ground on their rivals ahead of the Patna leg.