Pro Kabaddi League 2016 Season 4: U Mumba’s urgent need for a comeback before the home leg
U Mumba have been the most successful and consistent team in the history of Pro Kabaddi League. The team from Mumbai have many records to their name that have been unmatched by the other franchises in the previous seasons of PKL. U Mumba is the only team to have featured in the finals of the first three seasons of PKL, and is yet to lose a match at home in the group stages.
In all the 12 matches played at home, the team has won a record 11 matches and tied just one match. Unbeaten at home, the side has a winning percentage of 91.67 at its home, the impenetrable fortress of DOME@NSCI SVP Stadium, Mumbai.
The team is captained by Anup Kumar, unarguably the best raider in the league’s history. The captain who leads by example was the most prolific raider in season 1, as he topped the list of raiders with 155 raid points. He was also named the MVP of the tournament as U Mumba finished as runners-up, losing to Jaipur Pink Panthers in the finals.
His experience on the court, leadership qualities and tactics led U Mumba to the title in PKL Season 2, as they were the most dominating team all through the season. He is also one of the only 3 players to have collected 300 raid points in PKL. Season 3 was also quite successful for them as they played like champions all throughout the tournament, falling at the final hurdle as they lost to Patna Pirates.
The most important factor for Mumbai’s success over the first three seasons was their iron-clad defence, with battle-hardened defensive specialists like Mohit Chhillar, Surender Nada and Fazel Atrachali making life difficult for raiders with their wide array of defensive moves and coordination.
This season, they have players like Sunil Kumar, Manoj Dhull and Rakesh Kumar to fill up the void left by these defenders. With the addition of Surjeet, Mumbai have two of the most talented covers of PKL 3 in their ranks, and the combination of Jeeva Kumar and Surjeet could foil any raider’s hopes of scoring a point on their day.
Their attack is only one of the best in the league, as they have Captain Cool Anup Kumar and the best raider of Season 3, Rishank Devadiga to put the opposition in a tizzy and score points this season.
However, Season 4 hasn’t been so great for U Mumba. The team is currently languishing in the mid-table, as they lie 5th with just 1 victory and 2 losses out of the 3 matches that they have played so far, with a total of 6 points. The Pune Leg hasn’t been so grateful for them, as they lost to Puneri Paltans 41-19 in their second match, in what was one of the most one-sided matches in Season 4 so far.
They had to fight hard for victory in the first match, and managed to beat Jaipur Pink Panthers 36-34 in a nail-biter. Their third match against Patna Pirates at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur resulted in a loss for them as they lost the match 34-36.
They will have to buckle up their shoes and improve their performance before it’s too late for them, and any hopes of becoming two-time champions and maintain their reputation in the tournament will go up in smokes if they don’t bring back their fighting spirit and win the next few matches before the Mumbai leg starts.
Playing at home will obviously give them a confidence boost, and an improvement in their results can be expected, but they will have to perform to their best level in the matches before that, and hope to be in the top 3 of the league.
A lot is expected from U Mumba and the fans’ hopes and aspirations are lying on their shoulders, and they’ll have to play with better team spirit and enhance their performance in all departments of the game. What the future holds for them, only depends on the results of their upcoming matches and hopefully, they can take the recent losses in their stride and move on towards success.