For defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers, this was supposed to be walk in the park. Last season's best performers in the league stage, Jaipur were hailed as the title favourites at the start of the 2nd season of Pro Kabaddi League. However, they have been in for a harsh reality check this season. Having played just six matches so far, they have already lost two more games than they did in the entire last season. The Abhishek Bachchan-owned team now faces an uphill task of qualifying for the semifinals, having picked up just eight points from six games.
3rd leg: Jaipur loses three of their four games
The third leg began in Jaipur on Sunday, 26 July, with the home team taking on Patna Pirates. With both sides at 20 points each, Jaipur's challenge collapsed towards the end, as Patna sprinted to a 29-23 win. In their next match, Jaipur came up against high-flying Telugu Titans, who thumped them by a scoreline of 33-18.
The home team, however, managed to win their first game of the season a day later, when they cruised to a 36-23 victory over Bengaluru Bulls. That win turned out to be the only silver lining of their campaign, as they were brought down crushing with a 35-27 defeat at the hands of Delhi Dabang in the next game. The three losses in the leg now means that Jaipur lie fifth in the table with just one win from their six games.
In other games, the two best teams of the season so far, U Mumba and Telugu Titans, faced each other on 26 July. In what turned out to be a dramatic encounter, U Mumba kept their perfect record of the season with a 27-26 win. On 27 July, Bengaluru Bulls strode to a comfortable 33-18 victory over Dabang Delhi, with captain Manjit Chillar once again starring for the team. Bengal Warriors, meanwhile, climbed to sixth in the table with a 33-29 win over Puneri Paltan.
The results mean that U Mumba remain comfortably at the top of the table with 30 points from 6 games. They are followed by Telugu Titans with 21 points from 5 games and Bengaluru Bulls with 20 points from 6. Dabang Delhi currently occupy the remaining semi-final spot with 15 points from 5 matches.
The best performers
Anup Kumar once again played a crucial role for U Mumba in their win over Telugu Titans. For Titans, Sukesh Hegde starred in both their games, while Rahul Chaudhuri was the inspiration behind their win over Jaipur. Manjit Chillar has continued his good form with Bengaluru, whereas for Jaipur, Jasvir Singh has been their most consistent performer.
Next stop: Patna
The fourth leg of the season starts in Patna on Thursday, 30 July. Patna Pirates, who lie at the bottom of the table, now have the chance of climbing up to the semi-final spots, provided they win at least two of their games. The fourth leg will also be crucial for Telugu Titans, Dabang Delhi and Puneri Paltan, who will play two games each.