After 42 entertaining matches across 6 cities in Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Patna, Hyderabad and New Delhi, the best Kabaddi players from India and across the world will make their way to Bengaluru for the seventh leg of Season 2 of Star Sport Pro Kabaddi set to commence on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium. Star Sports Pro Kabaddi is all set to return to the Garden City of India to revel in the kabaddi madness that has taken over the country for the past month. The inaugural match of the city-leg will be between the dominant home team Bengaluru Bulls and table-toppers U Mumba.
With the league stage nearing its finish, the league table has shaped up to give an idea of the four semi-finalists that will contest for the coveted finalists spots. Season 1 runners-up U Mumba ruling the roost at the top and the high flying Telugu Titans surprising everyone with their tenacity and aggression, home team Bengaluru Bulls will look to find momentum in their home leg to maintain that 3rd spot and challenge for the top spot. With matches against Dabang Delhi, defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers and Telugu Titans, the Bulls will be hoping to get maximum points from these 4 games.
Compared to Dabang Delhi, Bengaluru Bulls are slightly better placed going into their home leg. With 31 points and 5 matches in hand, they need to win 3 of those matches to secure play-off qualifications. A draw or a loss by less than 7 points (which will get them 1 point) will not derail their path to the play-offs. The hosts’ chances of qualifying for the play-offs look bright but one only needs to glance at the form of one of their rivals in Dabang Delhi at home to emphasize the importance of maintaining momentum once the team begins their home leg.
Joining the home team Bengaluru Bulls in contention for the play-off spots are defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers, Patna Pirates and Dabang Delhi, with 26, 23 and 21 points in 4th, 5th and 6th position respectively. While Jaipur Pink Panthers and Dabang Delhi have only one match against the home team in the Bengaluru leg, Patna Pirates will be hoping to make up ground to their rivals for the play-off spots with two matches against Bengaluru Bulls and U Mumba. The Bengaluru leg promises to be an exciting phase in the league with close encounters and teams fighting to get a chance to win the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi title.
Bengaluru look good but they are over reliant on Captain Manjeet Chhillar and star raider Ajay Thakur. Manjeet is consistent whereas Ajay can be up one day and down the other like Rahul Chaudhari. Here’s where the role of their third raider Rajesh Mondal becomes important. There are others like Dharmaraj Cherlathan, Somvir Shekhar and Joginder Narwal who can sand bag the defence and deny every inch to the rival raiders. Their experience will count a lot when the time comes for them to step up and lead their team to victory.
The Bulls’ coach Randhir Singh has already given enough exposure to Ashish Chhokar and Pardeep Narawal to have a fall back plan in place. Randhir even gave an opportunity to Michael Spiczko (Poland) and Sinotharan Kaneshrajah when his team was winning big against Kolkata. Such acts help foster good team spirit which is exactly what their fans will be looking for when their team faces Mumbai in the tough opener. But then they have opportunities against Jaipur and Delhi on the following days. A win against Jaipur will put their rivals back while they go a step further towards their goal.
The Patna-Kolkata, Patna -Mumbai ties assume significance as they may well decide the fate of Patna. With Delhi almost out and Bengaluru set to clinch their place going by their past record it is a do-or-die situation for Patna and Jaipur. Jaipur though look more assured as they head south after that morale raising win over Delhi and a probable win over Pune.
Star Sports Pro Kabaddi will also witness iconic personalities and local musicians and bands recite the National Anthem every day of the league. After notable performances of the National Anthem from Amitabh Bachchan, Sourav Ganguly, Manoj Tiwari, Akriti Kakkar and Allu Arjun, starting the proceedings in Bengaluru will be Kannada film superstar and one of Bengaluru's most recognised faces, Actor Puneeth Rajkumar. Puneeth Rajkumar’s National Anthem rendition on Day 25 will be followed by performances by Kannada starlet Ramya, talented young singer Gagan Gaokar and culminate with a stellar performance by Kashmiri Singer Mehmeet Syed on the last day of the league in the city.
With Season 2 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi starting on August 12 in Bengaluru, there is feverish anticipation following all the excitement and entertainment offered by the league this season so far. Added to this, the race for the play-off spots heats up as U Mumba and Telugu Titans tussle for the top spot while home team Bengaluru Bulls will be looking to establish their position as well. The Bengaluru leg promises to be four days filled with amazing tackles and breath-taking raids in the best example of kabaddi possible.