Every season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi has given kabaddi fans new heroes to follow. While Season 1 and 2 saw Anup Kumar and Manjeet Chhillar capturing the imagination of fans, the year 2016 belonged to Bengaluru Bulls’ Rohit Kumar and Patna Pirates’ Pardeep Narwal. The latter two battle it out on Matchday 9 in Nagpur’s Mankapur Indoor Stadium and the stage is all set for a cracking encounter. Here we look at why the rivalry between Rohit and Pardeep generates so much interest.       

Rohit entered the Pro Kabaddi foray in Season 3 and didn’t take any time to show his profound talent. In just 12 matches, he scooped up a colossal 102 raid points, including 80 successful raids. He left behind every other contender to win the prestigious ‘Most Valuable Player’ award of the season and then he followed it up with 93 raid points in 14 matches in the next season.

Rohit enters Season 5 as the second most expensive player in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history as Bengaluru Bulls went all guns blazing to secure his services for a mammoth Rs 81 lakh. And boy, did he live up to the faith shown in him by the team management! The captain of the side has already picked up three consecutive Super 10s and has led his men to two wins in three matches. With the kabaddi caravan currently lodging in Nagpur, home venue for the Bulls this season, fans can expect him to go from strength to strength in the coming matches of this leg.   

Pardeep Narwal, meanwhile, is just 20 years old but his age is not an indication of his raiding capabilities because he is a complete assassin on the mat. He joined the league in Season 2, where he didn’t pitch a performance he could be proud of. But from Season 3 onwards, there was no stopping the beast. The Dubki King racked up 116 raid points, including 83 successful raids, in that season and then 131 raid points in the next season. There is no denying it was his fantastic form and performance that led Patna Pirates to back-to-back titles. The Pirates showed more confidence in the youngster by handing him the captain's armband ahead of Season 5 and so far Pardeep has been up to scratch. He has already made his domination felt in the two matches Patna have played by picking up 27 valuable raid points, including 22 successful raids.

With these two formidable players set to battle it out in the middle, it easy to see why fans are eagerly waiting for this contest. Let’s hope it lives up the hype it has generated.

Don’t forget to tune into the Star Sports network and hotstar from 9 pm IST onwards to enjoy the battle between these two high-profile gladiators.