8 HEAVYWEIGHTS, 60 MATCHES, 37 days of non-stop entertainment, endless #ThighFives and gruesome #Pangas. The second edition of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League turned out be an affair to remember, one that was packed with intense action, nail-biting moments and unpredictable results. Eventually, the U Mumba team was crowned champions on the home turf, amid loud cheer and support from the home crowd. The #FinalPanga is over!
Eight teams battled for supremacy, touring as many cities and playing out of their skins to make it to the Top 4. U Mumba, led by Anup Kumar, started their campaign on a winning note, and that was pretty much their mantra for the rest of the season. It was a much better and improved team from last season. Runners-up in 2014, Mumba were determined to stay ahead of their rivals and that’s exactly what they did. They cruised to the top of the table, losing just two of their 14 games in the league stage.
Challenging U Mumba in their race were two teams – Telugu Titans and Bengaluru Bulls. Both teams were neck-to-neck throughout the tournament, and it was hard to predict the standings till the end of the league stage. But with 50 and 48 points respectively, the No.2 and 3 spots were ultimately taken by these two teams. However, the real fight was for the fourth position, and Patna Pirates seemed to be the most desperate. They took out the defending champions, Jaipur Pink Panthers in a must-win encounter, sealing the No. 4 spot on the table.
For the rest of the teams, this season didn’t turn out to quite successful, especially for the Panthers, who would be disappointed to lose out after a good start to the tournament. As was the case with Bengal Warriors and Dabang Delhi, who looked in good touch in the initial stages. Despite having the best raider and the best defender of this season, Delhi suddenly ran out of gas as the tourney progressed and ended in 7th place. It was a heartbreak for the Puneri Paltan, who managed to win just two of their 14 games, an equation in complete contrast to U Mumba.
Plenty of players across teams hogged the limelight at Pro Kabaddi this year. But there were a selected few who caught everyone’s attention with their solid skills and application:
D.A.E Rising Star – Sandeep (Telugu Titans)
From prodigy to a pro! Telugu Titans’ 18-year-old Sandeep Kandola enjoyed a breakthrough season in Star Sports Pro Kabaddi Season 2, and was named the ‘Rising Star’ of the tournament. #FinalPangaPosted by ProKabaddi on Monday, August 24, 2015
With 55 successful tackles this season, Sandeep’s enthusiasm on the big stage made everyone sit up and take notice of the youngster.
Star Sports Raider of the tournament – Kashiling Adake (Dabang Delhi)
With a staggering 114 points, Kashiling Adake finished as the best raider of Pro Kabaddi Season 2. His classic ‘touch-and-roll’ technique was on display almost every time Kashiling set out for a raid. The star raider also created a record that is most likely to stay for long – 24 points including three super raids – the most by any raider in the season.
Star Sports Defender of the tournament – Ravinder Singh Pahal (Dabang Delhi)
Captain of his side, the aggressive Ravinder Pahal led Dabang Delhi from the front with his brilliant defence strategies. His unescapable tackles that most notably featured the waist hold was a sight to behold. Pahal was also known as “The Hawk”, owing to his fancy hairstyle.
Most Valuable Player of the tournament – Manjeet Chhillar (Bengaluru Bulls)
Leading the Bulls with his heart on his sleeve was Manjeet Chhillar, one of the finest all-rounders that Pro Kabaddi has witnessed this season. His never-say-die attitude and expressive personality made him a favourite among the fans.