After 40 minutes of riveting action, we finally have a winner of season 8. Dabang Delhi has beaten Patna Pirates to lift their first PKL title.
The final had a significant build-up to it. Both the teams had qualified the league stage at the first and second positions, which meant that they were the top teams in the league.
Then they played the semi-finals in a similar fashion against UP and Bengaluru to qualify for the finals.
Hence, the final was anticipated to be a match hanging in the balance, and it did hang in the balance until the last second of the game.
Dabang Delhi and Patna Pirates played a great final
Patna Pirates came into the game in a similar fashion as they had done in the Semifinals. With a well-round performance in the defence as well as raiding, they managed to inflict an all-out on Delhi in the early minutes of the game.
The Delhi team was not going into the shell as UP had done. Instead, they hit back at the three-time champions with their fighting spirits.
Patna’s defence didn’t seem to be prepared for it. As a result, they gave several points at the back.
Their raiding, however, was still top class, with Guman Singh and Sachin’s duo picking up points at regular intervals.
Both the teams were inseparable at the stroke of halftime. Although Patna had a slender lead, they didn’t seem to be playing in the right kind of fashion to defend it.
Delhi was well aware of that and exploited their opponent’s weakness in the second half. Naveen Kumar was the star of his team. He consistently dented the Patna defence with touch and bonus points.
Fight between Dabang Delhi’s radier and Patna’s defence
Naveen was accompanied by Vijay Malik, who played a significant part in his team’s dominance. He made two amazing super raids to turn the game in his team’s favour by inflicting an all-out on Patna.
Patna fought till their last breath to avoid an all-out until it became inevitable at one point.
They were still very much in the game, though, as Delhi could only take a 2 point lead despite the all-out.
However, their management made a crucial mistake which came back to haunt them at the end of the match. Their assistant coach somehow lost track of their substitutes.
Remember, in a PKL match; each team can make only five substitutions in the entire game. Patna hastily used all their subs to save an all-out.
But they couldn’t save the all-out and were left with no substitutes with 10 minutes to go. Also, with their last two replacements, they had brought in two defenders in the place of Guman Singh and Sachin.
Poor defence cost Patna the game
Therefore, they played the game’s final quarter with just one main raider in the form of Monu.
Since Delhi could never take a considerable lead, Patna was always in the game. Monu played excellently to bring consistent bonuses to keep his team in the game.
He was accompanied by Shadoloui, the defender, who also picked some crucial points for his team.
However, for Patna, the defence turned out to be the Achilles heel in the dying moments of the game.
Their right defender Sunil made an unnecessary challenge on Vijay Kumar that can be called out to be the point that tilted the game in Delhi’s favour.
In the last raid of the game, Delhi had no pressure. They were leading the game by a slender margin of one point, but since it wasn’t a do-or-die raid, an empty raid by Naveen won them the match.
This was the first PKL title for Manjeet Chillar, a veteran of the game. Delhi became the second new team on the trot to win the Pro Kabaddi League with this victory.