How the Patna Pirates won the Pro Kabaddi League Season 5 title
A difference in strategy saw the Pirates complete a hat-trick of titles.
Patna Pirates scored an incredible hat-trick by winning the Pro Kabaddi League for the third time in a row in two years earlier this year. Although the team may not have been the most balanced in the league, they played their kabaddi in a way that no one else could match.
Trusting the same two Pirates -- Pardeep Narwal and Monu Goyat and choosing not to believe in the concept of too many rotations, they made sure to record a 17-point victory in the final against the Gujarat Fortunegiants.
But how exactly were they different from the rest? Let's take a look!
The unstoppable Pardeep Narwal
If there's a name that comes to mind when you think of Patna, it's captain Pardeep. And what a race he had! To score a record of 34 points in a match and to complete 369 points in a single season, he did everything. Not only was it the backbone of Patna, but during the league, it became the PKL itself, as commentators often called him Mr. Kabaddi.
Scoring an incredible 19 Super 10s in 26 games, he was powerful and effortless as a raider. In addition, he took the role of captain very seriously, making sure that his team would always fight, regardless of the situation. His informal and relaxed approach as a captain worked well to form an equation with his young team made up of more players for the future than older people.
If there was a team that knew that revenge was better when cold, it was Patna. They had never beaten the Bengal Warriors in the three games they had played in the group stage before the playoffs. However, when they met in the playoffs, the team gave them a master class in Kabaddi, eliminating the Warriors from the league. The final score of 47-44 was misleading because Patna had full control after the first five minutes of the game.
Who needs rotations when you can have stability?
While the other teams were making many rotations in a 13-week league where each side was playing 22 games in the group stage, Patna had a completely different plan. Instead of investing their time in a new player in each game, they chose to play their key players like Pardeep, Monu, and Mane in the 26 games they played in the tournament.
While rotations occurred from time to time, their playing seven remained essentially the same almost everywhere. This helped the players, who initially did not start well, to gain confidence (Jaideep) and those who could have a better performance (Vijay).
It takes two to raid
The raiders are in kabaddi, what the batsmen are in cricket. And Patna, unlike other teams that tried to experiment with the number of raiders, only depended basically on two raiders. Monu and Pardeep. While Pardeep was the most famous member of the lot, Monu was also in the shape of his life. Both provided Patna with quick points in crisis situations to lead to several victories.
Relying on the fact that kabaddi is not an individual sport, Patna refused to bet on a single attacker, a mistake made by teams like Tamil Thalaivas, Telugu Titans and Bengaluru Bulls. This allowed them to become the only team to have two raiders who scored more than 200 points in the season, Pardeep scoring a monumental 369 and Monu obtaining an invaluable total of 202.