Some of these names were among the best performers of their sides in the campaign.
The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 6 heralded the start of a new chapter in the league’s history. After three successive league titles, Patna Pirates’ dominance in the league finally came to a halt.
Bengaluru Bulls claimed their maiden title, after beating Gujarat Fortune Giants 38-33 in the final held at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium in Mumbai. This was the Gujarat-based franchise’s second consecutive loss in a final. Some new names along with few consistent performers topped the charts in the 2018-19 season.
We take a look at the top five raiders of PKL season 6:
5. Maninder Singh
The Punjab-based raider made a promising start to his Pro Kabaddi League career, helping the Jaipur Pink Panthers win the league’s inaugural edition. He received lots of acclaims, having scored the most raid points that season. After an incredible start to his career, Singh sustained a serious injury that ruled him out of the next three seasons.
Singh made his comeback in season 5 with Bengal Warriors and was retained by the team. Despite PO Surjeet Singh being the appointed team captain, Maninder displayed his leadership qualities on the mat. Bengal Warriors had a fine campaign and went on to reach the knockouts.
Maninder Singh’s ability to outwit defenders and his calculated manoeuvres helped him collect 206 points in 22 matches.
4. Deepak Niwas Hooda
The Indian national team skipper had a memorable individual campaign. Hooda made the switch to Jaipur Pink Panthers after three seasons with Puneri Paltan. He immediately made his mark for his new team, becoming the most successful all-rounder in the league in this edition.
Considered as one of the fittest players in the Pro Kabaddi League, Hooda began to consistently top the do-or-die raids. He registered 10 Super 10s and even had a High 5 to his name in season 6. However, his efforts went in vain as the Jaipur Pink Panthers had a disappointing season, finishing second bottom in their group. Overall, Deepak Niwas Hooda racked up a total of 208 points in 22 matches.
3. Siddharth Sirish Desai
Siddharth Sirish Desai arrived on the PKL scene in season 6 with U Mumba. Desai scored a Super 10 in his very first match, to announce his arrival in grand fashion. He went onto become the fastest player to reach 50 raid points, having taken just four matches to achieve the feat. In fact, Desai recorded his first five Super 10s in just six matches.
Desai’s terrific debut season was the major reason behind U Mumba’s run to the knockout stage in season 6. The 29-year-old’s speed allows him to surprise defenders with the Running Hand Touch and catches them off-guard. While his brute strength lets him push through the opposition defence and return to his half, making him an extremely dangerous raider. Desai finished his rookie campaign with 221 points in 21 matches.
2. Pardeep Narwal
The unbelievable consistency of the best raider in the league’s history continues to take everyone by surprise. Pardeep Narwal arrived late in the scene and was a slow starter who made his Pro Kabaddi League debut in season 2 with Bengaluru Bulls. Having scored just nine points in six matches, he made the switch to Patna Pirates the following year. It proved to be a match made in heaven. Since then, the boy from Sonipat has continued to dominate the league.
Narwal has swiftly become one of the most consistent players in the league and has also established himself in the national team setup. He has claimed the Most Valuable Player Award on two occasions and has been at the forefront of Patna Pirates’ three successive PKL title-winning campaigns.
However, the Pirates’ dominance finally came to an end as the defending champions failed to even make it out of their group. On a personal level, the ” Dubki King” continues to exhibit his remarkable consistency, having scored 233 points in 21 matches.
1. Pawan Kumar Sehrawat
PKL season 6 will be best remembered for the exploits of Pawan Kumar Sehrawat. Having scored a combined total of just 74 points in his last three seasons, he burst onto the scene in season 6. Sehrawat finished as the league’s leading scorer to end the Pardeep Narwal-Rahul Chaudhari duopoly.
The “Hi-Flyer” single-handedly helped his team Bengaluru Bulls win their first league title, having scored 22 points in the final against his former employers Gujarat Fortune Giants. Sehrawat rewrote the record books with his performance after recording the most points scored by a single player in a PKL final.
He was duly adjudged as the Most Valuable Player of the season. His ability to bamboozle defenders with his long reach and lower body strength makes him an unique attacking force. An unforgettable breakthrough campaign yielded 282 points in 24 matches.