The EKA Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad will witness a new vivo Pro Kabaddi champion being crowned as Dabang Delhi K.C. and Bengal Warriors, both teams in their maiden final appearance, will lock horns for one final time with all to play for on Saturday. Both teams had contrasting showings in the Semi-finals as Dabang Delhi K.C. held onto a healthy lead to win by a comfortable margin while Bengal Warriors had to see off a late fight by U Mumba to sneak through in the final minute.
Bengal Warriors are undefeated against Dabang Delhi K.C. this season, tying 30-30 in Match 46 before defeating the team from the capital 42-33 in Match 115 at Panchkula.
FINAL: Dabang Delhi K.C. vs Bengal Warriors
Dabang Delhi K.C.
Season record (W-L-T): 16-4-3
Dabang Delhi K.C.’s magical run in Season 7 continued in the first Semi-final where they defeated reigning champions Bengaluru Bulls by a comfortable 44-38 scoreline. The league-table toppers were in the lead throughout the match and never let go of the steering wheel, which gave Bengaluru Bulls no chance to come back. Their raiders scored five less points than Bengaluru Bulls in that match but a massive 15 tackle point performance from the defence is what got them home eventually. They also did not concede a single All Out in the match. If the team can pull off a similar performance in the final, they could well claim their first vivo Pro Kabaddi crown.
Best Raider – Naveen Kumar
Dabang Delhi K.C.’s talisman Naveen Kumar continued his supreme run of form and scored his 20th successive Super 10 in the Semi-final while once again emerging as the team’s leading raider. His 15 raid points proved vital to the team’s cause as the rest of the team scored just eight more overall. The raider has an incredible average of 12.86 raid points per game and is 17 raid points shy of his first-ever 300 raid point campaign.
Naveen has found good support in Chandran Ranjit and Vijay, both of whom have managed to revive the raider quickly if he gets sent to the bench. Ranjit has registered his second-successive 100-raid point campaign with two Super 10s to his name while Vijay has contributed well on both sides of the mat with 45 raid points and 14 tackle points. The team also boast of the experienced Meraj Sheykh and young Neeraj Narwal in their bench strength, which makes their attack all the more potent.
Best Defender – Ravinder Pahal
Ravinder Pahal has been Dabang Delhi K.C.’s leading tackle point scorer in Season 7 with 62 tackle points to his name. This has already been the Corner’s most successful vivo Pro Kabaddi season and he continues to look menacing every time he takes the mat. Though he has just 3 High 5s this season, his consistent contributions as well as strong assists have made him a big threat for raiders.
The experienced Pahal has formed a good partnership with veterans Joginder Narwal and Vishal Mane as well as Anil Kumar, who was their most impressive defender in the Semi-final. Ranjit and Vijay, too, have been contributing in defence when the team needs them to step up. With no weak links in this department, it is no surprise that raiders have found the going tough against Dabang Delhi K.C. all season.
Season record (W-L-T): 15-5-3
Bengal Warriors proved that they can be a force to be reckoned with even without their skipper Maninder Singh as they beat Tamil Thalaivas in their last league-stage match before winning 37-35 against U Mumba in the Semi-final. They managed to fight off a strong U Mumba comeback in the Semi-final and put in two late tackles to seal the result in their favour. If Maninder returns to their fold for the final, it could become very difficult to stop the Bengal Warriors juggernaut.
Best Raider – Maninder Singh
Skipper Maninder Singh has always been at the front and centre of the Bengal Warriors attack for most of the season before he got sidelined by injury in the latter part of the league stage. With 205 raid points from 20 matches played so far, Maninder is just two points shy of making this his most successful season yet. This is also the first season where the raider averages more than 10 raid points per game.
Sukesh Hegde, Mohammad Nabibakhsh and K. Prapanjan made up for the raider’s absence, though, in the Semi-final. Hegde put in a game-changing Super Raid while Prapanjan, who is in his third straight 100 plus raid point season, contributed 4 raid points. Nabibakhsh’s presence makes a big difference to the team as well since he is able to contribute on both sides of the mat, which lends the team a good balance.
Best Defender – Baldev Singh
Baldev Singh’s season was quite well summed up in the crunching tackle he made on Arjun Deshwal in the buzzer raid of the Semi-final to win his team the match. Strong, sharp and fearless, Baldev’s 5 Super Tackles and 6 High 5s have made him the only Bengal Warriors defender in the top 5 tackle point scorers of the season.
Baldev found able support throughout the campaign in his fellow Corner Rinku Narwal who is just two tackle points shy of Baldev at 62. Rinku’s strong tackles slow down raiders enough to allow the Bengal Warriors defence to stop him in his tracks. Jeeva Kumar (3 tackle points) also had a good Semi-final which means the Bengal Warriors defenders will come into the final high on confidence.