From ‘Showman’ Rahul Chaudhari’s return to the debut of Suraj Desai and Mohammad Nabibakhsh, the Hyderabad leg was one to remember.
VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 7 got off to an exhilarating start, with the Hyderabad leg presenting fans with several magical moments, some brilliant kabaddi on the mat and a few milestones being set. As we head into the Mumbai leg, here are a few of the most memorable moments from the past seven days.
- 'Showman' Rahul Chaudhari's big homecoming
Match 4 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 7 between Telugu Titans and Tamil Thalaivas saw 'Showman' Rahul Chaudhari return to his old stomping ground, but this time in a Tamil Thalaivas shirt. Having spent six seasons with Telugu Titans, Rahul Chaudhari has been a firm fan-favourite in Hyderabad and the love the city harbours for the 'Showman' was evident from the reception he received. Chaudhari put on a masterful display against his former team, scoring a Super 10 and helping Tamil Thalaivas secure the all-important first win of the season.
- A new star makes his mark
The match between Telugu Titans and Dabang Delhi K.C. marked the debut of ‘Baahubali’ Siddharth Desai’s brother Suraj and the rookie delivered the most prolific debut performance of all time in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history, scoring 18 points and beating the previous mark of 15, set by Rakesh Kumar in Season 1 and his brother last season. It took Suraj just 15 raids to get his 18 points and what elevates his performance even further is the fact that the debutant had zero unsuccessful raids on the night.
- A new role for Anup and Rakesh
With 146 VIVO Pro Kabaddi appearances between them, Anup Kumar and Rakesh Kumar are undoubtedly two greats of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. The two are also ex-teammates and great friends off the mat. The match between Haryana Steelers and Puneri Paltan saw the two go head to head yet again, but not as players. Both marked their VIVO Pro Kabaddi coaching debuts during the match, with Anup in charge of Puneri Paltan and Rakesh helming Haryana Steelers. In the end, it was the latter who came out on top after an engaging clash.
- Nabibakhsh's dream debut
Following his positive first impression in the All-Star game, all eyes were on Bengal Warriors' new recruit Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh during his VIVO Pro Kabaddi debut against U.P. Yoddha and the Iranian lived up to his billing, scoring a brilliant Super 10. Nabibakhsh played the role of support raider exceptionally well, taking just 11 raid attempts to score 10 raid points. Furthermore, the all-rounder was tackled only once in his 11 raids, thereby starving the opposition defence of points.
- Gujarat Fortunegiants’ perfect start
Having reached the final in each of their first two campaigns in VIVO Pro Kabaddi, Gujarat Fortunegiants kicked off Season 7 in brilliant fashion, winning each of their two games by a margin of over 10 points. They also finished the Hyderabad leg at the top of the standings. Gujarat Fortunegiants opened their campaign with a sweet win over reigning champions Bengaluru Bulls by a scoreline of 42-24 and followed it up with a 44-19 victory over U.P. Yoddha. Their Cover duo of Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal have each scored eight tackle points in the first two matches, carrying on their form from the previous campaign. If their first two games are anything go by, Gujarat Fortunegiants will yet again be a force to be reckoned with this season.