PKL 2019, Season Review: Dabang Delhi | So near yet so far
If you take a look at the history of this franchise in the Pro Kabaddi League, you may notice that Delhi have never enjoyed a fabulous season. They did qualify for the playoffs last season, but they were not really the team to beat.
But this was their year. A season that Dabang Delhi will cherish for a long time. Although they could not win the final, they showed terrific consistency and their overall team performance was outstanding.
They did very well in the initial stages of the tournament and hence enjoyed a smooth ride to the playoffs. Their raiders were sensational, defense showed resilience and all the players contributed to put up a perfect team show. They were on the brink of creating history but fell short by a small margin. There were a lot of positives, but they somehow failed to put the finishing blow. So what is it that they lacked?
Played: 24 | Won: 16 | Lost: 5 | Tie: 3 | Total: 85 - Lost the final
Total points scored: 890
Total points conceded: 823
Raid points: 532
Tackle points: 222
All-outs conceded: 26
Overall win percentage: 66.67%
Naveen Kumar’s magic
This season, Delhi gave birth to a new superstar named Naveen Kumar. The youngster achieved a jaw-dropping, record-breaking figure of 21 consecutive Super 10s this season. His footwork was very confident. It was as if he knew what he had to do in the allotted 30 seconds. His running hand touches and extraordinary escape skills helped him score numerous multi-point raids.
There was no defensive line up that could stop him. He scored against the most well-known defensive players. Naveen ended the season with 303 points which came at a healthy average of 13.08
The credit for Delhi’s raiding efficiency also goes to their talented support raiders. Chandran Ranjit had 125 points to his name and his little cameos were crucial to the team in the absence of Naveen. Vijay also served as a good assisting raider as he scored 62 points. The trio made Delhi’s attack very strong and that is the reason why this team scored most number of points in season 7.
What did not work?
Delhi boasted of two of the strongest corner players - Ravinder Pahal and Joginder Narwal. The former scored 63 points and the latter managed only 49. Both these players have been around since the very first season and are expected to bring a little more to the team.
Their experience was one of Delhi’s biggest strength, but the duo were below par in the final.
Also, cover defender Vishal Mane picked up only 28 points in 23 games. His dashes were not well-timed and his performance did not meet his standards.
Delhi conceded the 2nd most number of points (823) and their total tackle points were the 2nd worst this season (222)
In conclusion, one may feel that Delhi’s terrific attack overshadowed their brittle defense.
Naveen Kumar is this team’s biggest asset. So Delhi must look to retain this fabulous talent that truly holds the potential to play for India.
Also, defender Anil Kumar was quite impressive in the cover region as he scored 49 points in 19 matches. If Delhi want to strengthen their defense, they may look to retain Anil.
Left corner Joginder Narwal looks past his prime and hence there is a need to replace him with a younger player in the following season.