VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 is all set for the final ‘panga’ between Gujarat Fortunegiants and Patna Pirates on Saturday. Fans are waiting with bated breath to see if Patna can claim a hat-trick of titles or if Gujarat can crush their hopes by lifting the trophy in their debut season. But before the all-important grand finale we turn back the clock to revisit the finals of the past seasons and the heroes who emerged from them.
Season 1: Jaipur Pink Panthers steal the show
Jaipur Pink Panthers capped off a strong season by defeating U Mumba in the final and lifting the trophy in the inaugural edition of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. The Navneet Gautam-led side dominated the season and emerged deserved winners with a 35-24 victory against the Mumbai-based franchise. Maninder Singh and Jasvir Singh were the raiding heroes for the side who put U Mumba under pressure by enforcing an All-Out after a slow start. There was no looking back for Jaipur from there and they maintained their lead to win with ease.
Season 2: U Mumba get their revenge
After a brilliant show in Season 1 which saw them narrowly miss out on the title, U Mumba left no stone unturned to get their hands on the trophy in Season 2. Shabeer Bappu led the charge for Anup Kumar’s men in the final and got them home with a 36-30 win over Bengaluru Bulls. It was the corner combination of Surender Nada and Mohit Chhillar along with Vishal Mane in the cover position that kept the Bulls quiet throughout the game. Current Tamil Thalaivas captain Ajay Thakur kept up the fight for the Bengaluru camp and was ably supported by One Man Army Manjeet Chhillar. However, Bappu was too good on the day and the raider helped U Mumba bring the trophy home.
Season 3: Patna Pirates begin their domination
Patna Pirates brought in current Gujarat Fortunegiants coach Manpreet Singh as their captain in a bid to win their maiden VIVO Pro Kabaddi title and the wily strategist didn’t disappoint. The Patna side had stars like Rohit Kumar, Sandeep Narwal and Pardeep Narwal in their unit which helped them overcome three-time finalists U Mumba and emerge winners. Rohit and Rajesh Mondal raided well early on to get their side a 19-11 lead at half time. Anup Kumar’s men fought back through Shabeer Bappu but couldn’t get the better of Manpreet’s unit, eventually falling 31-28 after a closely-fought game. This was the beginning of Patna’s dominance over the league as the world got a real glimpse of the abilities of Dubki King Pardeep Narwal.
Season 4: Patna Pirates become first team to defend their title
Season 4 came closely on the heels of the third season and this time it was senior defender Dharmaraj Cheralathan who led the Pirates’ title defence. The final saw Patna Pirates lock horns with Season 1 winners Jaipur Pink Panthers. Pardeep Narwal, who had stamped his authority over the league by now, scored 17 points in the final and helped Patna record a 37-29 win over Jaipur and successfully defend their title of VIVO Pro Kabaddi champions. Jaipur Pink Panthers had a strong unit with all-rounder Rajesh Narwal and defender Rohit Rana in the mix along with emerging player of the season Ajay Kumar. They gave Patna a strong fight till the end but had no answer to the masterful Narwal whose aggression on the mat blew them away. Narwal also emerged as the season’s Most Valuable Player and became a household name after his feats all through the season.