Bengal Warriors etched their name in history by winning their first-ever vivo Pro Kabaddi title on Saturday. After watching from the sidelines for six seasons, Bengal Warriors finally found success under BC Ramesh’s guidance in the seventh season of the league. Here is a look at how the season went for the champions:
Strong performances but an indifferent start
Bengal Warriors won six of their first eleven matches in the league stage and did not manage to string together a run of even two successive victories. However, their three defeats in this period were by the smallest of margins, with the heaviest one coming against Haryana Steelers in Match 60 where they lost by three points. Their biggest win, though, came by a massive 31-point margin in their first match of the season against U.P. Yoddha.
Biggest Win of the Season for Bengal Warriors: 48 – 17 vs U.P. Yoddha (Match 7)
Biggest Loss of the Season for Bengal Warriors: 41 – 69 vs Patna Pirates (Match 124)
Subsequently, Bengal Warriors entered their home leg where they remained undefeated throughout the week. After a 25-25 tie against Gujarat Fortunegiants in the first match, the managed to win the next three matches by narrow margins. This undefeated run did their position in the standings a huge favour as they continued their rise. It would take another four matches before they would get beaten again in the penultimate match of the league stage while resting their key players against Patna Pirates. That loss, however, was their heaviest of the season at 28 points.
Bengal Warriors total points scored in Season 7: 868
Bengal Warriors total points conceded in Season 7: 790
The loss of key personnel
The team faced a jolt before going into the playoffs as two of their top raiders, skipper Maninder Singh and K. Prapanjan, picked up injuries. Both raiders had been among the top 10 point-scorers of the season and their injuries forced Bengal Warriors into playing their backup raiders. Maninder’s injury, in particular, was quite severe as the Bengal Warriors talisman was ruled out for the remainder of the season.
It was Iranian Mohammad Nabibakhsh who took over the reins of the team in this period and led from the front, finishing his debut season with 122 points. Maninder, though, still remained the team’s top performer with 205 points, in spite of having played only 20 matches.
Bengal Warriors Best Raider of the season: Maninder Singh (205 raid points)
Bengal Warriors Best Defender of the season: Baldev Singh (66 tackle points)
Conquering the toughest week
Come the playoffs, Bengal Warriors shifted gears as they were well rested after finishing second in the standings and qualifying directly for Semi-final 2. There, they saw off a late U Mumba challenge and won 37-35 courtesy of two late tackles in the final minute when the match was tied.
Mohammad Nabibakhsh led the team’s fightback after being down by 8-points early in the final. He scored 10 points and was well-supported in both departments as Bengal Warriors conceded just 3 tackle points and inflicted three All Outs to win by a five-point margin on the way to hoisting the vivo Pro Kabaddi trophy.
Most All Outs inflicted in Season 7: Bengal Warriors (41)
Least All Outs conceded in Season 7: Bengal Warriors (23)