PKL 2019: Key Battles to Watch in Pro Kabaddi Semifinals
The seventh edition of the Pro Kabaddi League has entered its last phase with four teams – U Mumba, Bengaluru Bulls, Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors – making the semifinals this year.
Kabaddi fans are set to witness two thrilling semifinals – Bengaluru Bulls vs Delhi Dabang and Bengal Warriors vs U Mumba.
Each semifinal has a key battle to look out for. In a game of kabaddi, which is a team sport, there are certain individuals who always have a battle of their own.
Let’s have a look at these battles:
Semifinal 1: Bengaluru Bulls vs Dabang Delhi
After a thrilling victory over UP Yoddha in Eliminator 1, Bengaluru Bulls will take on the league’s table-toppers Dabang Delhi KC in Semi-final 1 at the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
The first meeting between the two sides this season finished in a narrow 33-31 victory for Dabang Delhi KC while the second ended in a thrilling 39-39 tie, where Amit Sheoran’s tackle on Naveen Kumar in the buzzer raid salvaged three points for Bengaluru Bulls.
Bengaluru Bulls (W-L-T): 12-10-1
Dabang Delhi K.C. (W-L-T): 15-4-3
Pawan Sehrawat vs Ravinder Pahal
Another masterful display from Pawan Sehrawat helped Bengaluru Bulls see off P. Yoddha in a humdinger to qualify for the semi-finals for the second season running.
Defences of all the teams have found it impossible to contain Sehrawat, but Dabang Delhi KC may just have the man for the job, Ravinder Pahal.
- Raid Points: 10
- Raid Strike Rate: 66.66
- Average Raid Points: 2.5
- Tackle Points: 8
- Tackle Strike Rate: 53.33
- Average Tackle Points: 2
Ravinder Pahal, a master of the Block and the Back Hold, is one of the few defenders who leads their career head-to-head against Sehrawat. Like UP Yoddha’s Nitesh Kumar, Pahal has effectively attacked Pawan’s lower body and it has yielded favourable results for the veteran defender.
Here is the list of moves that Pahal has successfully used to tackle Sehrawat:
- Thigh Hold: 3
- Back Hold: 2
- Block: 2
- Ankle Hold: 1
Sehrawat, though, has also tricked Pahal a few times with a repertoire of moves. With Pahal aiming for his lower body, the Hi-Flyer has gone airborne and used the jump to escape a tackle attempt, while he’s also Dubki’d his way through a block attempt on another occasion. The Hand Touch has also proven to be an effective move against Pahal as well. With Pahal crouched low to find an angle to pounce on his feet, Sehrawat has used his outstretched arms to get a touch point off Pahal thrice in their duels.
Semifinal 2: Bengal Warriors vs U Mumba
Semi-final 2 at the EKA Arena in Ahmedabad on 16 October will see Bengal Warriors take on U Mumba with a spot in the Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7 finale on the line.
All the Bengal Warriors players will be well-rested and ready ahead of the clash after a week-long break since their last league-stage match. U Mumba, though, will have positive momentum on their side after outdoing Haryana Steelers convincingly in Eliminator 2.
Bengal Warriors (W-L-T): 14-5-3
U Mumba (W-L-T): 13-8-2
Sandeep Narwal vs Maninder Singh
Maninder Singh and Sandeep Narwal have a pretty even record in Season 7 and their face-off in the semi-final will decide an eventual finalist.
- Tackle Points: 11
- Tackle Strike Rate: 52.38%
- Average tackle points: 1.57
- Raid Points: 11
- Raid Strike Rate: 52.38%
- Average raid points: 1.57
Sandeep Narwal is second on U Mumba’s leaderboard for tackle points with 53 points and he will have a big role to play if the Season 2 champions are to neutralize Bengal Warriors’ talisman.
The duo has had 21 duels on the mat through seven seasons and has exactly the same number of points against each other. Having fallen prey to the all-rounder’s brute strength, Maninder will be wary of Sandeep and look to avoid him snapping at the ankles as well as on the escape. Sandeep’s triumphs in duels against Maninder have come in the form of three thigh holds and five blocks in their previous clashes, a testament to the fact that the raider has been outmuscled plenty of times.
Here is the list of moves Sandeep has successfully used against Maninder:
- Block: 5
- Thigh Hold: 3
- Chain Tackle: 2
- Dash: 1
Maninder will not only be looking to win his duel against Sandeep but will also be aiming to find match rhythm after a lengthy layoff on the sidelines. He will back his ability to fluster an easily excitable Sandeep in Wednesday’s clash, as his performance will go a long way in determining if Bengal Warriors make their maiden Vivo Pro Kabaddi final.
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