It has been a glorious, glorious year for the Pro Kabaddi League season this time around, and definitely one of the best so far. It witnessed some of the giants like Patna Pirates and Pink Panthers fall, with many surprises in store elsewhere. There were also some big finds this season such as Pawan Sehrawat, Siddharth Desai, Parvesh Bhainswal, and Nitesh Kumar to name a few.
As we enter the penultimate moment of the season, the Finals here is our in-depth analysis of the elusive contest between Bengaluru Bulls and Gujarat Fortune Giants.
Season So Far
An attack is the best defence, they say and Bengaluru Bulls have certainly lived by this philosophy. They have been a force to reckon with and one of the most feared attacks this year. In fact, Bulls have been one of the few PKL teams to consistently score above 30 points over the course of the season.
Going by the stats, they are PKL’s second-best team when it comes to the total point scored- 849 points from 23 matches. However, when it comes to collecting raid points, they are unrivalled at the top. Over a course of the season, Bulls have amassed as much as 521 points, 25 more than their immediate successors and defending champions Patna Pirates.
The one thing that has let Bengaluru Bulls down this season is their leaky defence. They have conceded 30+ scores on as many as 13 occasions from 21 matches. Furthermore, Bulls don’t have a single representative in the table for top 10 successful tackles and rank a lowly 9th when it comes to total points from tackles. Although they have a formidable attack, Bengaluru Bulls will have to shore up their defences if they are to win their first ever PKL title.
Gujarat Fortune Giants
As their name goes, GFG has really been Giants this season, dominating the other sides outright. Agreed they are not a defensive powerhouse like U Mumba or have the best attack in the league like Bengaluru Bulls. However, Gujarat has managed to do one thing that matters the most- win matches.
And they have pretty shrewd when it comes to winning matches. The Ahmedabad-based team has won the league high of 17 matches from 22 matches and lost on just 3 occasions. If there is one word that defines their season, it has to be CONSISTENCY.
Giants have consistently managed to win matches over the course of the season, and their defence has been more of a strength than the attack. Although they feature third on the list of total points scored (843 from 24 matches), the attack makes only 54 % of this tally. (Bengaluru Bulls have this figure at 62%).
However, that doesn’t mean that their attack is not good enough. In fact, they have fine-tuned their side in such a way that Gujarat always manages to more points than their opponents. They play intelligently to their defence.
Giants have 266 points from tackle points, at an average of 11.08 points per match. They also have inflicted a total of 35 All-outs on their opponents, the second highest in the league. On the other hand, they have conceded the second least All-Outs (18) in the league.
Unlike Bengaluru, GFG looks a complete package on paper with the right blend of explosive attack matched with a superior defence. However, what lets them down sometimes is their on-field antiques.
One of the biggest ‘weakness’ for the Gujarat side is the occasional creep of complacency at crucial moments in the match. Giants almost seem to lose focus especially after they are leading a contest comfortably. This was evident in the matches against Haryana Steelers (32-25), Dabang Delhi (26-29), and U Mumba (26-36) when they comfortably lead the contest before the opposition upped their ante and the Giants capitulated.
This was on full display in the first Qualifier against Bengaluru Bulls as well. With a 26-20 lead, Gujarat seemed to be very much in control of the contest before the Bulls, powered by a blazing performance from Pawan Sehrawat, went on a points-scoring spree. Giants seemed to have lost focus and the confidence with it once they had given up the lead.
While their opponents collected as many as 21 points in that time span, they could manage a paltry 3 points. If Gujarat has to lay claim on the PKL trophy this time, they will have to address this issue first.
Head to Head
Both the teams have faced each other only on two occasions, once in the Inter-Zone match and in the first Qualifier recently. The first meeting was a tightly contested event with both the teams locked at a score of 30-30.
However, it was the second match between the two that can give us a hint of what is to expect in the epic final. Bengaluru came back with all guns blazing from a 20-26 deficit to win the contest by 41-29. This was an apt display of their exceptional attack.
Players to Look Out For
Bengaluru Bulls- Pawan Kumar Sehrawat
The one player that has been highly effective for the Bulls is Pawan Kumar Sehrawat. This has really a breakthrough season for the young player who was bought this season by Bengaluru for a hefty price of Rs. 53 lakhs. The New Delhi-based raider literally tops all the PKL attacking stat tables- Total Points (260), Raid Points (249), Successful Raids (189), and Super Raids (12). He starred in the first Qualifier against Gujarat with a 13-point haul to single-handedly guide Bulls to the finals.
Gujarat Fortune Giants-Parvesh Bhainswal
GFG’s star defender Parvesh Bhainswal is easily their best player. He has already scalped as many as 84 tackle points. With the second-best figure Successful Tackles – 77, the 21-year-old defender could be attributed as the big finds of the 2018 PKL season. Parvesh is known for his signature ‘Block’ move when he uses tremendous strength and pace to directly counter an escaping raider akin to a wall. If Gujarat Fortune Giants are to win the title this time, they will want this man to beat the best of his form.
Bengaluru Bulls: W W L D W
Gujarat Fortune Giants: W L W W W
When to Watch?
The final of the Pro Kabaddi League between Bengaluru Bulls and Gujarat Fortune Giants will take place at 8 pm, 5th January.
Where Will it Take Place?
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium, Mumbai.
Where Can I Buy the Playoffs Tickets?
You can buy the PKL Playoffs on PKL’s official website. The ticket price starts at ₹ 250.
Where can I watch on TV?
You can catch the live action on the Star Sports network.
Where can I live stream the event?
You can stream the event live on Hotstar.
Pangas all around ????
@BengaluruBulls and @Fortunegiants are ready for the final face off! Who'll lift the coveted ?? Find out as the #VivoProKabaddiFinal takes centre stage only on Star Sports! pic.twitter.com/7R7zrbxPNi
— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) January 4, 2019