Pro Kabaddi: A new star shines each time for Jaipur Pink Panthers
Analysing Jaipur Pink Panthers' performances in the second half of the Pro Kabaddi season
Times have changed since a team needed to rely on their icon player to get them over the line. Now, each time the men in pink walk out on the mat, the opponents are in for a surprise as every match a different player shines the brightest among the 14 players on the mat. This is the biggest reason the Jaipur Pink Panthers has managed to reach 4th spot in the Pro Kabaddi table.
The cunning smile and form, both have returned for star raider, Jasvir Singh, who is supported ably by his teammates – Rajesh Narwal, Sonu Narwal and Kuldeep Singh, whenever he is having an off day. Despite not being as dominant as last season, the Panthers have shown why they are the defending champions in their 5 wins and a draw. Jasvir Singh was rested against Puneri Paltan on the final day of the Delhi leg, but the defending champions still emerged victorious.
The boys put on a stunning allround show and continue their winning streak, which ensured they moved up to 3rd place in the pool table. Sonu Narwal, Kuldeep Singh and Ran Singh bagged 5 points each, while Rajesh Narwal was lethal once again and gained 6 points to complete a 13-point win for the team.
In the do-or-die game against Dabang Delhi, it was Rajesh Narwal who came up with the goods. They beat the hosts with the highest margin of points (30 points) in season 2. Getting Ravinder Pahal’s men all out five times in a match (most in Pro Kabaddi history) would not have been possible without the master of super raids – Rajesh Narwal who earned 19 points for himself.
The other night, it was the duo of Sonu Narwal and Kuldeep Singh who earned 6 points each, the former in raids and the latter in defence, and thus put an end to the 8-match winning streak of league pacesetters U Mumba. Ran Singh and Prashant Chavan, too, were involved in a super tackle making it a comfortable 10-point win for the Pink Panthers and stay alive in the race for the playoffs.
A top class performance by Sonu Narwal could only end the match in a tie after full time. At one stage, Jaipur were trailing by 11 points and looked like another defeat was on the cards for the visitors at Hyderabad. But, Sonu Narwal had different intentions in mind. He amassed 13 points in the game, which not only brought the margin close, but also earned a 5-point lead for his team, but the buzzer raid ended with 39 each on scoreboard in a game no team deserved to lose.
Earlier, an allround performance by Rajesh Narwal helped Jaipur Pink Panthers to register another win over Puneri Paltan and regain their morale after a not so promising start earlier this season. Rajesh earned 10 points in total, 6 in raid while 4 in tackle which included 2 super tackles. And the rest was a team effort before the final whistle blew in favour of Pink Panthers.
At a time when Jaipur fans had nothing to cheer about after 4 losses, changes were needed in the team line-up and captain Navneet Gautam was relegated to the bench and it was this brave decision that turned the tide in the team’s favour against the resurgent Bengaluru Bulls. It was for the first time this season when Jaipur Pink Panthers played like champions and outplayed Manjeet Chhillar’s Bulls to taste victory in front of the home crowd. It was purely a team effort with the big fellow Jasvir leading from the front and well supported by Kuldeep Singh and Rohit Rana.
In the past 5 encounters, each time the team stepped in, they have got different players who deserved a standing ovation from the crowd. But it is evident that one man has been common in each victory for Pink Panthers – Jasvir Singh. He is a man you can’t keep out of the game. The star raider known for teasing the opposition with his cunning smile while raiding and suddenly gearing up speed and getting furious in last 15 seconds of his raid is a treat to watch. With an average of 4.4 points per match, Jasvir Singh is a player of such reputation that he gets huge appraise from the crowd all over India.
As it is too early to predict the finalists for season-2 with the contest wide open, it would be interesting to see which team holds its nerves well and has the last laugh after the tournament ends.