A look back at the second season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi
After the overwhelming success of the first season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi, there were apprehensions about the second season and if it would live up to the lofty standards set a year ago. However, the first match of the 2015 edition – U Mumba vs Jaipur Pink Panthers - dispelled all the doubts as it was widely received by the fans,who lapped up every tackle, each raid and each decision with equal enthusiasm as the 14 players on the mat.
Mumbai was the host for the first leg of the second season and the home team U Mumba smashed every team that came their way to set camp at the summit of the league table. Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans also started their campaign with wins while the Rakesh Kumar-led Patna Pirates were handed a defeat by the home team. U Mumba also set a record by winning all the 4 matches at home.
After Mumbai, the Pro Kabaddi caravan moved to Kolkata where the home team Bengal Warriors failed to make the most of the home crowd. Despite winning their first match, the Warriors suffered losses in their remaining 3 matches.
Jaipur played hosts for the 3rd leg and replicated Bengal Warriors’ performance by suffering 3 defeats and winning just 1 match in front of their home crowd. The defending champions were expected to kick-start their campaign at home, but the other teams made sure that didn’t happen as the Pink Panthers were relegated to the bottom half in the table.
Patna welcomed the Pro Kabaddi in the final leg of the first half of the season and the home team turned the tide in their favour in front of their fans. Lying in last spot before the leg, Patna Pirates propelled themselves to 4th spot after the leg with 2 wins, a draw and a loss at home. After an unfortunate injury to Rakesh Kumar, stand-in captain Sandeep Narwal marshalled his troops well to enter the playoff spots.
The second half of the group stage
After a day’s break, Telugu Titans hosted Pro Kabaddi and they remained undefeated in front of a frantic Hyderabad crowd. With 2 wins and 2 draws, they managed to displace U Mumba, who suffered their first loss of the tournament, at the top of the table.
The national capital - Delhi – witnessed Pro Kabaddi for the first time this year, where Jaipur Pink Panthers’ Rajesh Narwal and home team’s favourite Kashiling Adake dazzled the crowd. Rajesh scored a record 19 points in his team’s 51-21 win over the home team. Not one to be left behind, Kashi, amassed a mammoth 24 points – the most in Pro Kabaddi history – in a 45-45 draw with Telugu Titans on the final day of the leg. The home team’s semi-final hopes hung in the balance after winning just 1 match and losing 2 at home.
The penultimate leg of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi – Bengaluru – saw 3 teams seal qualification to the semi-finals – U Mumba, Telugu Titans and Bengaluru Bulls. The Bulls charged forward after losing their first 2 matches at home by demolishing their opponents on the final 2 days to reserve their seat in the playoffs.
The final leg saw the team who finished bottom of the table – Puneri Paltan – host the league. The most anticipated clash was between Jaipur Pink Panthers and Patna Pirates, with the winner taking the final semi-final spot. Patna edged the defending champions to the 4th spot and ensured the second season will have a new winner.
U Mumba crowned champions
The league moved to Mumbai for its culmination. U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls emerged victorious in the semi-finals over Patna Pirates and Telugu Titans, respectively. The Titans would go on to beat the Pirates 34-26 on the final day of the tournament to confirm a podium finish for the team from Hyderabad. Last season’s finalists, U Mumba, delighted the home crowd by going one step further this time with a 36-30 win over the Bulls in the final.
Although Anup Kumar’s men won the tournament, Bulls’ Manjeet Chhillar was adjudged the MVP, while Dabang Delhi’s deadly duo - Kashiling Adake and Ravinder Pahal - were named as the best raider and best defender, respectively. The second season of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi was a festival of sorts with some breathtaking kabaddi, entertaining moves and a brilliant reception by the viewers.
Due to the massive success of both the seasons, we can be sure that Star Sports Pro Kabaddi is here to stay and the fans will be sitting with bated breath for the third season to begin.