One of the recurrent themes from Season 5 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, besides the ebb-and-flow nature of most matches this year, is how close most of the contests have been. No team can take their position of strength in matches for granted this season regardless of what the score may read. Those who did let complacency seep into their play with a sizeable lead to bank on were generally given a harsh reminder in keeping with the age-old adage ‘it ain't over till the fat lady sings’. Only recently Patna Pirates, facing exit from the league, blew away Puneri Paltan’s 10-point lead in the final 10 minutes in Eliminator 3 to win 42-32. Here, however, we look at some of the biggest comebacks this season in terms of sheer points.
Match 67: Haryana Steelers vs Patna Pirates
Final Score: 41:41
Points deficit: 16 points
The biggest comeback of the season, one could have forgiven Haryana Steelers for thinking the game was in the bag with a 16-point lead, however, Patna Pirates had other plans. Haryana were leading Patna 32-16 in the 29th minute when the Pirates forged a stunning comeback that left the home side reeling. Pardeep Narwal and Monu Goyat were at the heart of the comeback for the two-time champions with 13 and 11 points respectively, while their defenders Jaideep and Vijay also contributed in their department. It was Goyat's raid in the final minute that led to a 41-41 tie.
Match 46: Bengal Warriors vs Patna Pirates
Final Score: 36:36
Points deficit: 15 points
Another encounter when Patna took their foot off the accelerator a bit too early was during their first meeting against eventual Zone B toppers Bengal Warriors. The Warriors trailed the Pirates by as many as 15 points heading into the final quarter of the contest when they turned on the style and blew away Patna’s defence, with Deepak Narwal leading from the front against his former employers. Deepak managed a game-high 11 points, while skipper Surjeet Singh chipped in with a High 5. The match went down to the wire as Bengal pounced on Monu Goyat in the buzzer raid to make it 36-36 having trailed 31-16 at one stage.
Match 57: Gujarat Fortunegiants vs Haryana Steelers
Final Score: 36:42
Points deficit: 12 points
Despite finishing as Zone A toppers, Gujarat Fortunegiants aren’t exactly immune to blowing massive leads if we analyse one of their rare losses to Haryana. The Fortunegiants led the Steelers 26-14 in the 26th minute when an inspired Prashanth Kumar Rai turned the tide of the match with a star showing that Gujarat’s formidable defence simply had no answer to on that day. Rai managed a game-high 16 points in the match and was well supported by Wazir Singh, who chipped in with nine points. A look at the final score read 42-36 in Haryana’s favour which made for a convincing victory despite lagging behind by a dozen points in the 26th minute.
Match 94: Gujarat Fortunegiants vs Tamil Thalaivas
Final Score: 34-35
Points deficit: 12 points
One of the most thrilling comebacks of the season – if not the most – Tamil Thalaivas led by their inspirational skipper Ajay Thakur pulled a rabbit out the bag against Gujarat in Delhi. An inter zone clash, neutrals expected it to be plain-sailing for Gujarat against an inconsistent Chennai outfit. The game went as per script at the start with the Fortunegiants dominating the proceedings to open up a 30-18 lead. With a little over 10 minutes left to play, Thakur took the game into his own hands and raided with aplomb to narrow the deficit. However, Gujarat still had their noses in front by a point as Thakur crossed the midline for the buzzer raid in which he picked up two touch points to send the crowd into raptures.