Sunday saw the conclusion of the first Inter Zone Challenge Week of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5. The week saw teams from Zone A and Zone B at loggerheads to stamp their supremacy. There were 12 matches in all, and the entertainment quotient went several notches up. The following are our takeaways from the interzonal round, which started in Ahmedabad and ended in Lucknow on Sunday.
Fortunegiants hit pay dirt
Gujarat Fortunegiants had a dream home leg having ended it undefeated with five wins and one tie. Not only did the team dominate its own Zone A, where it presently leads the points table, their mastery was also evident in the inter-zonal duels. One of the four new teams this season, Gujarat have clearly emerged as the front-runners to win the coveted trophy.
Teams from the south faltering
Three teams from South India are taking part this season, namely, Bengaluru Bulls, Telugu Titans and debutants Tamil Thalaivas. Led by three match-winners in the form of Rohit Kumar, Rahul Chaudhari and Ajay Thakur respectively, these teams, however, have failed to live up to expectations so far. Bulls have won just 3 of their 9 matches, while the Titans ended their 8-match winless streak only recently. The Thalaivas are languishing at the bottom of Zone B with a single win to their name from 5 matches.
Zone A teams dictating terms
Out of the 12 matches played over the week, nine of them ended in favour of Zone A teams while two ended tied. Zone B will definitely be under tremendous pressure when the next inter-zonal round begins in early September.
As Season 5 entered its third week, one could easily see that the initial warm-up phase of the league is over. Each and every team means business now with new players starring for their team every day. The week witnessed two draws and two easy wins, while the verdict of 8 matches rested on last-minute actions. This means none of the teams are willing to take it lying down anymore. Also, holding nerves during crunch situations has now become crucial.
Young talents coming to the fore
One expects the star players to lead from the front and dominate the opponents but the contribution of young players has been no less impressive. In the inter-zonal round, they left behind more experienced players and helped their team to wins quite often. A shining example of this is Gujarat Fortunegiants’ Sachin, who emerged as a total revelation in the Ahmedabad leg. Puneri Paltan’s More G B, Telugu Titans’ Vishal Bhardwaj and Sombir, and Fortunegiants’ Rohit Gulia also stood out several times.