Bengal Warriors have been knocking on the door to the championship for quite some time now. In the initial four seasons of Pro Kabaddi League, Bengal never managed to make it to the upper half of the table. But in the following seasons, they have been quite consistent and have finally been rewarded for the same.
Delhi and Bengal were the most stable teams this season. They ticked the right boxes and often grabbed the crucial moments in a close game. And throughout the season, if there was one team that could challenge Delhi, it was this Bengal Warriors team.
Bengal did falter earlier this season, but they accelerated heavily in the middle stages. And one of the main reasons for the same was strike raider Maninder Singh’s insane form.
But all wasn’t as easy as it looked. Bengal had to earn their victory and just like every other team, they too had a few issues to address. But they performed together as a team and hence deserved to be the champions of PKL 7.
Here is a brief review of their successful season.
Played: 24 | Won: 16 | Lost: 5 | Tie: 3 | Total: 83 - Winners of PKL 7
Total points scored: 868
Total points conceded: 790
Raid points: 513
Tackle points: 229
All-outs conceded: 23
Overall win percentage: 66.67%
One may easily be admired by Maninder Singh. A calm and composed sportsman who knows his job really well. He is the one who highlights the fact that one doesn’t need to be physically aggressive in order to intimidate the opponents.
Maninder scored 205 points to end up as the 5th best raider this season. His running hand touches were a treat to watch.
Attack in tandem
Bengal missed the services of Maninder Singh in the playoffs. That was a major jolt to this team as he was their best performer. But they still managed to beat U Mumba and Dabang Delhi to win the final. That tells you about the depth in this team.
Esmaeil Nabibaksh and Sukesh Hegde were tremendous in the playoffs. Also, not to forget K Prapanjan’s contribution early in the season. Bengal always kept the scoreboard ticking and never fell behind even in the absence of key players.
Left corner Rinku Narwal and right corner Baldev Singh do not have a lot of experience in their kitty. But they still managed to put up a very good show this season. Together they scored 131 tackle points and 10 high 5s. They were clinical with their tackles and ankle holds and deserve equal credit for Bengal’s victory.
What did not work?
Poor cover defenders
Bengal had Jeeva Kumar’s experience in their defense. Jeeva who usually is on point with his dashes, looked a off beat this season. He scored 39 points, but was involved in a lot of unsuccessful tackles. His tackle strike rate was only 39%.
His partner Mayur Shivtarkar was heavily below par. He featured in 11 matches and scored only 7 points. Bengal’s faith in him was questionable and he may be replaced in the following seasons.
Maninder Singh remains their finest player and Bengal will try their best to retain him. Also, debutant Esmaeil Nabibaksh was one of the most impressive players of the season. He stepped up in close games and was instrumental in turning the final in Bengal’s favour. So going ahead, he could be a big prospect.