Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], January 19 (ANI): Week 4 of the ongoing Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 once again reminded everyone of its extremely unpredictable nature. The big guns Bengaluru Bulls, Patna Pirates and Dabang Delhi struggled for consistency while the likes of Puneri Paltan and UP Yoddha showed they have more fight left in them.
Pawan Sehrawat and Surender Gill were the raiding heroes of the week with dominating performances on the mat. "High flyer" Pawan riots against Delhi in their top-of-the-table-clash while Surender Gill scored 21 points of Yoddha's 50 against Pune. Naveen Kumar's recurring injuries and Telugu Titans' quest for their first win ensured a drama-filled week of Kabaddi that saw new heroes emerge on the mat.
Pawan Sehrawat's 26-point performance against Delhi makes him the highest-scoring raider of the week. He went berserk against the Delhi team manned by experienced professionals such as Manjit Chhillar and Jeeva Kumar. Pawan has not only developed as a complete raider but also as a clever captain. He clinched 56 points in 3 matches by attacking all areas of the mat.
But Surender Gill was arguably the star raider of the week with his outstanding performances for U.P. Yoddha. The team paid Rs 1.65 crore for securing the services of Pardeep Narwal at the auctions but it is the lesser-hyped Gill who has impressed in the early weeks. He is a clever raider who adjusts his game according to the opponents. Against Haryana Steelers, he relied on speed and precision to help his side keep pace with Vikash Kandola and eventually clinch a tie. Against Pune, in a high-scoring game, he picked up multiple multi-point raids by slowing down and enticing the defenders. UP's playoff hopes will completely hinge on how well Surender Gill can sustain his form.
The ever-reliable Maninder Singh scored the third-highest points in the week as Bengal picked up two wins and a tie. He has been the sole performer in the raiding department for the defending champions.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man! The experienced raiders of PKL proved their worth in Week 4 with U.P.'s right corner Nitesh Kumar leading the way with 14 tackle points. His combination with left corner Sumit has been vital in Yoddha's recent change of fortunes.
Bengaluru Bulls' defence has also started to find form as the season enters the crucial stages. Saurabh Nandal has marshalled his defence well and ended the week with 13 points which included multiple Super Tackles. His teammate Mahender Singh was also effective with 10 points.
Like the Bulls, the Bengal Warriors defence has also stepped up in the recent games thanks largely to Ran Singh. The left cover's return from injury has given the defending champions much-needed inspiration. Both Ran Singh and cover defender Amit Nirwal had 10 points in the week. Patna Pirates' Sunil also had an outstanding individual performance in the week, scoring 9 points against Bengaluru Bulls and stopping Pawan Sehrawat.
A lot of intensely-fought matches of Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 has resulted in ties and last-raid wins. With 13 ties, this is already becoming one of the most fiercely contested tournaments in history. Teams have also acknowledged the importance of three points (for a tie) as opposed to one (for a narrow loss) and played the final minutes safely.
U Mumba was at the end of two ties - one against Bengal Warriors and another against Gujarat Giants - in the week. Haryana Steelers' 36-36 tie against UP Yoddha was however the most entertaining tie of Week 4 with both teams giving it a go till the dying seconds. Tamil Thalaivas and Jaipur Pink Panthers also settled for a 31-31 tie as all teams realised the difference 3 points could make at the end of the tournament. (ANI)