Patna Pirates completed the three-peat by winning the fifth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League.
The Pro Kabaddi League 5 became more grandeur with the inclusion of four additional teams to the existing eight franchises. Tamil Thailaivas, UP Yoddha, Haryana Steelers, and Gujarat Giants were the four new franchises joining the mega Kabaddi League. The format of season 5 changed considerably and the teams were in two Pools. In the earlier seasons, each played with other teams twice which wasn’t the same this time. With the inclusion of new teams, the players got to play an additional number of matches (14 to 22) which is a good jump.
Patna Pirates became the most successful team winning the trophy for the third consecutive time and defeating debutants Gujarat Fortune Giants. Manpreet Singh who led Patna Pirates to the title in the previous season was the coach of Gujarat in season 5. Ram Mehar Singh became the first coach to win the PKL title twice. Also, the opening ceremony was held separately for individual legs to showcase the importance of sport and culture.
In season 5 total amount spent by the teams was 46.99 crores almost four times higher than the previous auction. Although the number of teams increased there was a substantial increase in money spent in the auction. Nitin Tomar was the costliest buy and was acquired by UP Yoddha for 83 lakhs. Among the foreign contingent, South Korea’s Jan Kung Lee was retained by Bengal Warriors for 80.30 lakhs.
1. Pardeep Narwal
Matches – 26 | Raid Points – 369
Pardeep Narwal became the first raider to cross the 300 raids points mark in a single season. In the previous four seasons, none of the raiders could cross the 200 raid points mark and the record made by Pardeep Narwal was a great achievement. With Pardeep’s individual brilliance, Patna Pirates went on to win the third title (hattrick). The average raid points per match were above the 14 points mark (14.1).
2. Rohit Kumar
Matches – 22 | Raid Points – 219
Rohit Kumar from Bengaluru Bulls scored 219 raid points the second most in the league. This performance helped take over the captaincy leading Bengaluru Bulls in season 6.
3. Ajay Thakur
Matches – 22 | Raid Points – 213
Ajay Thakur after representing Bengaluru Bulls and Puneri Paltan was brought by Tamil Thalaivas in season 5. He was the standout raider scoring 200 raid points but couldn’t help the team from finishing last in the points table. Ajay Thakur went on to lead the side for three successive seasons without finding any success.
1. Surender Nada
Matches – 21 | Tackle Points – 80
Surender Nada represented Haryana Steelers in their maiden season which also turned out to be his best in terms of the number of tackle points scored. Nada is known for his ankle hold and the combination with Mohit Chillar is considered to be one of the best in the league.
2. Surjeet Singh
Matches – 24 | Tackle Points – 76
Surjeet Singh the cover defender scored 76 tackle points and was instrumental in Bengal Warriors reaching the playoffs but lost in the semifinals to champions Patna Pirates in a close encounter (44-47).
3. Vishal Bharadwaj
Matches – 22 | Tackle Points – 71
Vishal Bharadwaj of Telugu Titans in his early 20s scored 71 tackle points and was ahead of many experienced defenders in the team. The player from Himachal Pradesh couldn’t help Telugu Titans to get through to the playoffs finishing fifth in the group.
1. Pardeep Narwal – 19
2. Rohit Kumar – 12
3. Ajay Thakur – 12
1. Surender Nada – 5
2. Surjeet Singh – 9
3. Girish Ernak – 5