After the action and drama that unfolded in the first edition of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, expectations among fans had reached a crescendo. Be that as it may, there were also concerns as to whether the league will be able to meet the standards it had set in the first season. Frankly, those concerns didn’t last long and were effectively squashed after the curtain raiser in Season 2, which had pitted the previous season’s finalists – Jaipur Pink Panthers and U Mumba – against one another.
Neither team held back with the match eventually decided by a solitary point as U Mumba vanquished the demons of their final loss to the Panthers in Season 1 by beating them 29-28. The thriller saw U Mumba take the lead in the closing stages to give the reigning champions a taste of their own medicine. The match also served notice to the rest of the competition that U Mumba were out there to make amends for what they couldn’t do the previous season.
Led by Season 1 MVP Anup Kumar, there would be absolutely no stopping U Mumba in their quest for glory this time around. After their opening day win against the Panthers, U Mumba went on to win all their home matches and ended the season with a stunning record of 14 wins and just two losses. Anup aka ‘Bonus ka Baap’, owing to his uncanny ability to effortlessly win his side bonus points, finished the season with the most raid points (74) for Mumbai.
Shabeer Bappu and Rishank Devadiga also impressed with 46 and 44 raid points respectively, while Mohit Chhillar, Surendra Nada, Jeeva Kumar and Vishal Mane formed the best defence in league, making a total of 180 successful tackles – 22 more than the occupants of second and third place.
U Mumba beat the Patna Pirates in the semis before delighting their home crowd with a 36-30 win over Bengaluru Bulls in the final. The Bulls also enjoyed a fine campaign but came up just short in the final hurdle as they failed to derail the U Mumba juggernaut. They finished the league stage in third spot with nine wins and five losses before beating Telugu Titans in the semis. Skipper Manjeet Chhillar once more proved to be the main man and led brilliantly besides notching up 67 raid points and 39 successful tackles. Despite losing the final, Manjeet was awarded the league’s MVP, while Ajay Thakur (79 raid points) and Dharmaraj Cheralathan (41 successful tackles) also played a major role in the Bulls’ runners-up finish.
Telugu Titans beat Patna Pirates 34-26 in the third-place playoff for a podium finish. They had ended the league stage in second spot with eight wins, three losses and three ties. Rahul Chaudhari was again their star man with 98 raid points to his credit. Sukesh Hegde was their next best raider with 62 points and their poster boy Sandeep Kandola was the league’s top defender with 55 successful tackles.
Patna Pirates, meanwhile, had mixed fortunes after a slow start to the season. They finished fourth and didn’t look like making the semis at one stage with skipper Rakesh Kumar struggling for form. However, when Rakesh picked up an injury and was ruled out for the entire second half of the season, the Pirates started to see an upswing in their fortunes and ended up making their second successive semis. Deepak Narwal ended the season as their best raider with 57 raid points and Sandeep Narwal was their best defender, finishing seventh on the leaderboard for successful tackles (34).
Jaipur Pink Panthers’ unsuccessful title defence was dealt its final blow by the Pirates in a virtual quarterfinal match in the league stage, which they lost 26-24. Rajesh Narwal was their top raider with 69 raid points and Jasvir Singh also managed 64 raid points, however, it was in defence that they were found wanting as they finished the league stage in fifth spot with six wins, seven losses and a tie.
Bengal Warriors finished in sixth spot, level on points with seventh-placed Dabang Delhi, who despite having the league’s best raider in Kashiling Adake (114 raid points) and second-best defender in Ravinder Pahal (53 successful tackles) failed to secure a maiden semis berth. Lastly, Puneri Paltan finished rock-bottom for the second year in a row.