The Bengal Warriors clinched their first-ever Pro Kabaddi title at the EKA Arena by TransStadia at Ahmedabad, as the Mohammad Nabibakhsh-led side clinched a 39-34 win over Dabang Delhi K.C. in the summit clash of Pro Kabaddi 2019.
Having topped the points table with 15 wins from 22 matches, the Warriors earned a direct spot in the semifinals, where they clinched a thrilling 37-35 win against U Mumba to book a spot in the final. Dabang Delhi K.C., who finished second on the table with 14 wins from 22 matches overcame a challenge from the Bengaluru Bulls to clinch a 44-38 win over the defending champions and set up a clash with the Warriors in the finals.
Throughout the competition, all of the teams tried out a mix of youth and experience which saw quite a few youngsters earning their first shot at making a mark on the mat in their first-ever PKL season.
While youngsters such as Naveen Kumar, Pawan Sehrawat, Nitesh Kumar among others did prove to be big-match players yet again, a few players were coming into the league for the first time, and they had a big impact with their performances.
Here, we take a look at five debutants who had a top season.
#5 Pankaj Mohite (Puneri Paltan)
The Puneri Paltan were dealt an early blow this season, as Nitin Tomar was ruled out of the first few games owing to an injury. In his absence, all-rounder Manjeet was touted to play the role of a lead raider, and he received decent support from Pankaj Mohite, who did well to pick up crucial points in his first season.
Pankaj finished the season with 113 points from 16 matches at an average of a little over 7 points per match and a fantastic not out percentage of 77.77%. Given that Pankaj played more of a supporting raider role, he was often given the responsibility of going in for crucial raids, which saw him finish with a strike rate of 53.14%.
Having also picked up three Super 10s in the second half of the season, Pankaj did eventually pick up the pace, but it proved a little too late as the Puneri Paltan were knocked out of the competition in the group stages.