THE BIGGEST UPSET of this Pro Kabaddi season so far took place tonight when undefeated defending champions Patna Pirates simply fell apart in front of a hitherto struggling Dabang Delhi, losing to them by an astonishing 15-33.
Something seemed off with the Patna players and neither their raiding nor their defensive strategies seemed to be working. Pune raiders Rajesh Mondal and Pardeep Narwal got caught early on, while Selvamani and Prashant Kumar ran successful raids for Delhi. Abolfazel Maghsodlo got some good touches and the Patna defenders caught Meraj Sheykh and Pardeep Narwal, but towards the end of the first half Delhi pulled ahead wth a good raid from Vikash Khandola and a trapping of Abolfazel, going into the break 7-11 ahead.
In the second half, Delhi pressed down on Patna. eraj and Vikash got touches and Rajesh got tackled. Early on, the Pirates were all-out, and their deficit went to 8-17.
The momentum that Delhi had gained did not seem to cease. They caught Abolfazel, Mahesh Goud and Pardeep again, Vikash Khandola and Meraj got touches and before Patna could hold themselves steady, the game had run out of their hands. 34 minutes in, Delhi had a 10-30 lead.
Nothing much happened after that. Delhi played it safe and saw the clock out. Pardeep got too aggressive and ended up getting tackled. There was no saving grace for the home team in this in game. They lost 15-33.
The fatigue may have been a factor. In Pro Kabaddi the home teams have to play 4 nights in a row and that tires players out. We saw Puneri Paltan struggle because of this and Telugu Titans didn't have it good either. This was the Pirates' third night, and they still havew to face Jaipur Pink Panthers tomorrow night. And the way their team have struggled they would not fancy that at all.
Just one loss has de-throned Patna Pirates from the top spot in the league table. If they lose tomorrow night they may lose the sizeable advantage over other teams they have had so far. So the coach will likely have a late night, trying to figure out a way to rotate his squad without losing efficiency. Either way, it's going to be a challenging outing for the Pirates tomorrow.