The competition in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 is now getting intense with the arrival of the business end. By the end of next week the league will have found its eventual winner from among the six teams staking a claim for top honours. However, before looking forward we take a look back at the league stage to bring you the players who brought the crowd to their feet with their fire-brand kabaddi.
Rohit Kumar (32 points): Bengaluru Bulls vs U.P. Yoddha
The Season 3 MVP was undoubtedly the star performer from the Bengaluru Bulls side in Season 5 and the latest feather in his cap came when he scored a record 32 points in the team’s penultimate game against U.P. Yoddha which they went on to win by 40 points. Rohit Kumar looked like a man possessed as he was tackled just thrice in 31 raids and returned empty-handed on just one occasion. On a night which clearly belonged to him, the Bengaluru captain also proved his commitment to the team’s cause by helping effect a super tackle when U.P. were looking to fight back. Rohit now holds the record for most points scored by a player in a match (32), most raid points in a match (30) and is likely to finish as the second best raider of Season 5 behind only Pardeep Narwal with 219 raid points.
Before Rohit Kumar’s record-shattering feat, it was Rishank Devadiga who held the distinction of being the highest scorer in a match with 28 points. U.P. were taking on an already deflated Jaipur Pink Panthers side but stand-in captain Devadiga wasn’t just satisfied with a victory. He went all out and returned super raid after super raid being tackled just once on the night. His record-breaking feat saw him rise to the ninth spot in the list of top raiders, where he currently sits with 150 raid points, just 10 shy of captain and fellow Yoddha Nitin Tomar, who is in 7th place. U.P. Yoddha will definitely need more such spirited performances from Devadiga if they are to prove serious title contenders in their debut season.
Dubki King Pardeep Narwal scored what was then the season’s highest raid points tally against a Jaipur Pink Panthers side which was struggling to find form. He was ably supported by Monu Goyat on the night, being promptly revived on both the occasions he was sent to the sidelines. Pardeep relied on the bonus just once and instead chose to score mainly through touch points. So frantic was his pace of scoring that Jaipur could barely catch a breath with him on the prowl. The Patna captain has twice scored 21 points in a single game this season and is currently the league’s top raider, sitting pretty with an all-time record of 274 raid points and looking good for plenty more. He could well be the first raider to complete 300 raid points in a season if he continues with his lethal ways. However with his team now in the play-offs, he will need much more support from the side’s defenders if they are to fight till the end.
Compared with others’ performances, Nitin Rawal’s 14-point effort may not look like much but the young all-rounder, playing in his first VIVO pro kabaddi season, almost became the first player to score the kabaddi double of a Super 10 and High 5 in the same match against Dabang Delhi K.C. Unfortunately, the youngster’s efforts came in a losing cause as Jaipur were eventually tamed by Dabang Delhi K.C. in the game but Rawal put up a brave fight till the end and finished as his side’s top raider with 10 raid points and also the top defender with 4 tackle points. He was just one tackle point away from the double but was forced to play cautiously since the rest of the Jaipur side could not come up with enough support for the debutant. This was Rawal’s second Super 10 of the season, and he looks set for the big time after his game-changing performances for Jaipur this season.
Telugu Titans failed to live up to the hype created around the team before Season 5 got underway. They were struggling to find the right momentum consistently and looked like they might finish at the bottom of Zone B before a few spirited performances by their young defenders Sombir and Vishal Bhardwaj brought the team back into contention for the playoffs. With senior defender Rohit Rana struggling, Sombir took control and came up with the goods against southern rivals Tamil Thalaivas scoring 10 tackle points and single-handedly stopping their charge. Sombir put in 7 successful tackles including three brave super tackles to take the wind out of the Tamil Thalaivas sails. His performance and combination with Bhardwaj brought the Titans back and they fought hard in the latter stages to put the other teams from their zone under tremendous pressure.