Bengaluru Bulls, captained by Manjit Chillar, had aspirations of becoming the first champions of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). They made it to the semi-final, but two consecutive losses meant they finished 4th in the inaugural edition.
The team from Bengaluru, owned by Kosmik Global Media, is working hard on making the sport popular in Karnataka, even taking the help of the Karnataka Regional Association.
At the launch of the team, Uday Singh Wala, CEO, Kosmik Global Media and owner of Bengaluru Bulls had said, “It is indeed a very proud moment for us to be associated with this venture which aims at promoting the sport of kabaddi among today's youth.”
Manjit Chillar, being a part of the Indian national team, brought with him plenty of experience and led from the front. The team was coached by Randhir Singh, who was quite successful in his playing days for the country. He also had a successful stint as the coach of the Railways team.
The management was confident of the team’s success as they had carefully chosen a strong and experienced team of coaching staff, and the players chosen were also quite talented and experienced. The Bulls played their home matches at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, Bengaluru.
The Bulls got off to a flier
Out of the 14 matches they played, they won 8, lost 5 and settled for a draw in 1 match. With a total of 47 points, they finished a respectable third in the league stages, behind the teams from Mumbai and Jaipur.
They played their first match at the NSCI Indoor Stadium, Mumbai against Dabang Delhi and won the match comfortably 47-29. Their next match against the Puneri Paltans wasn’t as one-sided, but the Bulls managed to scrape through 40-37. Against Bengal Warriors, they made it three wins in a row by beating them convincingly, 46-30, racing to the top of the table early on in the tournament.
However, their good start took a hit as they suffered back-to-back losses to Puneri Paltan, 31-33, and U Mumba, 34-45. They redeemed themselves by beating Patna Pirates 37-35, but they were made to work hard as Patna gave them a tough competition.
They got their revenge on U Mumba when the two met in Pune. This was Mumbai’s first defeat in the tournament going down 33-30 against the Bulls. However, they continued their indifferent run and lost their next match against Dabang Delhi 29-27.
Their best performance was probably against Bengal Warriors when, playing at home, they outshone the Warriors in all departments. They emerged victorious with the scoreline reading 37-24. They ended their league campaign on a strong note, edging Telugu Titans 27-26 and getting the better of eventual winners Jaipur Pink Panthers 30-29.
Disappointing end to a promising season
They faced U Mumba in the second semi-final, played in Mumbai. All their hopes of qualifying for the final and facing Jaipur Pink Panthers for the trophy proved to be futile as Mumbai won the match 27-23. They faced Patna Pirates for the third place play-offs in Mumbai, but lost the match 29-22 and had to settle for a fourth position finish in the first season.
Star raider Ajay Thakur scored 122 points to finish as the 4th best raider in the tournament. Pramod Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Sarun Das, Preetam Singh, Gurchet Singh and Indonesian I Ketut Ariana also had a decent tournament.
Dharmaraj Cheralathan had an amazing tournament for them. He got 38 points while defending and finished 4th in the best defenders list. However, the shining light in Bengaluru Bulls’ campaign was captain Manjit Chillar, who contributed on both ends of the court. He scored 71 points in his raids, while emerging as the best defender of the tournament by scoring 51 points.
Overall, the Bengaluru Bulls had a decent show in the tournament. They shouldn’t be too disheartened with their performances at the end of the campaign. They play the Bengal Warriors in their opening match of the second season of the Pro Kabaddi League, which starts on 18th July. All eyes would be on them for the second season and we’ll have to wait and see if they can take the next step.Published 22 Jun 2015, 16:53 IST