VIVO Pro Kabaddi recently saw the conclusion of its fifth season, one that was bigger and better than ever before. The three-month long season saw plenty of milestones being covered and records being broken.
Here we bring to you 5 highlights which will stay on in the memories of the fans for times to come.
Pardeep Narwal’s record-shattering 34 points display
Patna Pirates had a tough journey to the final as they had to fight through two eliminators and a qualifier before taking on Gujarat Fortunegiants. However, their captain Pardeep Narwal peaked at the right time for the team and delivered when it mattered. He was in an especially lethal touch against Haryana Steelers in Eliminator 2 as he scored 34 of his team’s 69 points and surpassed Rohit Kumar to become the highest individual scorer in a VIVO Pro Kabaddi match. He also put in the biggest raid in the history of the league in which he took down 6 opponent players in one go to inflict an all-out on Haryana. The Pirates took the momentum from this match into the finals where they made short work of the Gujarat defence to win a record third VIVO Pro Kabaddi title.
Surender Nada’s High 5 spree
Haryana Steelers had a good debut season where they edged a number of established teams to make their way to the playoffs. They were also the only team in the league stage to offer resistance to Gujarat Fortunegiants, who wasn't able to find a way around their corner combination. One half of that famed defensive duo was Surender Nada, who broke his own record of the most consecutive High 5s by a single player in the history of the league by reaching 5 in his team’s first 5 games. Nada also finished at the top of the season’s best defenders list by scoring 80 tackle points from 21 games. Nada is definitely the pick of the defenders this season.
Gujarat absolute home dominance
The new format of VIVO Pro Kabaddi meant that teams had to fight through 6 matches on the trot when they entered their home leg. Many teams failed to rise to this challenge but it wasn’t a problem for Gujarat Fortunegiants. The debutant side won 5 of their matches before being held to a draw by Bengal Warriors in what was a dominating display. They were the only team to have a clean slate at home which helped them top Zone A and made their road to the final relatively easier. They may have lost the final but Gujarat proved they are a force to be reckoned with on the kabaddi mat.
Ajay Thakur’s never-say-die attitude
After a slow start, Tamil Thalaivas captain Ajay Thakur came into his own and almost single-handedly won them a number of games in the later part of the league. He was especially known for his never-say-die attitude which helped him and his team fight for victory till the dying seconds of the match. Thakur scored in the dying seconds against U.P. Yoddha to steer his team to victory, and then repeated the feat again against Gujarat Fortunegiants and U Mumba. His heroic feats kept his team motivated till the end and they returned some spirited performances towards the end of the league.
Raid Machine and Dubki King’s 600 Not Out
It was a season of records at VIVO Pro Kabaddi. Pardeep Narwal broke record after records as he became the highest scorer in a single match (34), had the most super 10s by any player in a single season (19), scored the most points in a single season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi (369) and also became the second player after Raid Machine Rahul Chaudhari to reach the 600 raid point mark in VIVO Pro Kabaddi. Rahul Chaudhari had earlier gone past in the same season and now sits on top of the list of the league’s all-time top raiders with 666 raid points. The Telugu Titans star is also at the top of the highest scorers of all time with 710 total points from 79 matches.