Bengaluru Bulls entered Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 as the defending champions. The Bulls started the season in the right fashion with a victory over 3-time champions Patna Pirates. But in their very next match, they were handed a big defeat by the Gujarat Fortune Giants.
And this is the pattern that followed throughout the season. The Bulls won 2-3 matches on the trot and then went on to lose another 2-3 in a row. They weren’t that consistent and hence finished at the 6th position in the league stage, just ahead of Jaipur Pink Panthers.
The Bulls looked like the most lethal team with respect to their attacking strength and at the same time, their defense looked quite brittle. They did not enjoy a very smooth ride and were made to toil hard for a spot in the playoffs.
Here is a brief review of their roller-coaster PKL 7 season:
Played: 24 | Won: 12 | Lost: 11 | Tie: 1 | Total: 64 - Lost in the semis
Total points scored: 868
Total points conceded: 855
Raid points: 533
Tackle points: 232
All-outs conceded: 33
Overall win percentage: 50%
#1 Pawan Sehrawat's power - Pawan Sehrawat was on another level this season. He scored 360 points at an average of 14.4. He also picked up 18 Super 10s and was the best player of his team by a long way. Sehrawat was also the most successful raider of PKL 7 season and he beat Pardeep Narwal by over 50 points.
By scoring 39 points against Haryana Steelers, he broke the record for the most points scored in a single PKL match, which was earlier held by Narwal.
Sehrawat's biggest strength was his rate of successful raids. 75% of his raids fetched a point and that helped his team score as many as 868 points this season, the most by any team.
What did not work?
#1 Absence of a good support raider - Skipper Rohit Kumar missed many matches this season due to injury and that added to the pressure on Sehrawat’s shoulders. Other raiders like Banty and Sumit Singh together scored 91 points. While Singh was decent and did very well in the knockout matches, Banty looked quite slow and lacked the basic qualities of a good support raider.
Rohit Kumar could have added a lot more as he had an underwhelming season by his standards. He managed only 100 points in the season and never really got going. The fact that he scored only 3 Super 10s highlights the same.
#2 Brittle defense - The Bulls conceded the most number of points this season (855).
Their defense lacked stability. The trio of Mahender Singh, Amit Sheoran and Saurabh Nandal scored over 50 points each, but they often failed to deliver as a unit.
Right cover Mohit Sehrawat looked below par. He managed only 17 points in as many matches and that stat does not speak good things for him.
In short, the Bulls had more weak links than their strengths and hence could not achieve the result they wished for.
Sehrawat remains the most valuable player for this side. But the management must try to look for players who can give enough support to him.
Also, the Bulls missed the presence of an experienced defender and that took a toll on them in close matches.
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So the inclusion of an efficient assisting raider and the addition of a sturdy defender should be on the priority list for the Bulls next season.