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Star Sports Pro Kabaddi 2016, Season 4: Team of the Pune Leg

Assessing the best players from the first leg of Pro Kabaddi as the sport rocks the nation again.

Surender Nada
Rohit Kumar tries a running hand touch on Jang Kun Lee

The first leg of Season 4 came to a rousing end at the Dome@NSCI Stadium in Worli, Mumbai. A forced change in the venue of the Pune leg of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi didn’t deter Puneri Paltan as they climbed to the top of the table courtesy 2 wins and a draw in their 4 matches. Their only loss came at the hands of defending champions Patna Pirates while 3-time finalists U Mumba suffered a thumping at the hands of the home team a day after they had gotten the better of Jaipur Pink Panthers.

There were plenty of inspiring individual performances in the opening 4 days of the tournament. Let’s try to pick the best 7 and form the team of the Pune leg:

Surender Nada (Bengaluru Bulls) – Left Corner

New Bengaluru Bulls captain Surender Nada showed his team the way by putting up a defensive masterclass against Bengal Warriors. The former U Mumba man was a rock at the back for the Bulls, winning 5 points for his team, which also included a sensational super tackle on Monu Goyat.

Vinod (Telugu Titans) – Left Cover

Despite a disappointing result for the Telugu Titans, new signing Vinod gave the team’s fans something to cheer about with his exploits in the opening match of the season. The Puneri Paltan raiders had no joy in the left cover position as Vinod brought each of them down to complete a high 5.

Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates) – Raider

Pardeep Narwal
Pardeep Narwal was again in sensational form for the defending champions

Last season’s best raider, Pardeep Narwal continued his fine form by shining in the only match the Pirates played in Mumbai. The 19-year-old led the raiding department for the reigning champions against the home team Puneri Paltan by amassing 7 points.

Shabeer Bapu (Jaipur Pink Panthers) - Raider

The Jaipur Pink Panthers raider was a constant menace for his former team as he almost single-handedly took the game away from U Mumba. Although he ended up on the losing side, he managed to get 9 raid points against a sturdy Mumba defence.

Rohit Kumar (Bengaluru Bulls) - Raider

Season 3 MVP Rohit Kumar began exactly where he left off at the end of last season with 7 raid points in the Bulls’ win over defensively-strong Bengal Warriors. He went berserk in the final moments of the game by winning 4 points in 4 consecutive raids, reducing the Warriors to just 1 man, who was tackled in the subsequent raid. Cometh the hour, cometh the man indeed!

Dharmaraj Cheralathan (Patna Pirates) – Right Corner

The battle-hardened veteran Dharamaj Cheralathan may be the oldest man of the tournament, but when he gets on the kabaddi mat, there are few who can match his enthusiasm. The 41-year-old led by example in Patna Pirates’ win over Puneri Paltan. He showed that there is a lot left in his tank by gathering 5 defensive points, which also included a super tackle to hand the home team their only defeat of the leg.

Manjeet Chhillar (Puneri Paltan) – Right Cover

With a total of 13 raid points and 10 defence points in 4 matches at the Pune leg, Manjeet Chhillar comes into this team as their all-rounder. The Puneri Paltan captain particularly starred in the opening match against Telugu Titans with a high 5 and a raid point. A 7-point haul against U Mumba followed while he had a subdued match against Patna as his team succumbed to a defeat. However, he came back strong against Dabang Delhi and used his experience to the fullest to ensure his team didn’t lose their final home game.

Manjeet Chhillar
Manjeet Chhilar was phenomenal in the game against U Mumba