Jaipur Pink Panthers came out on top in a tense final against Puneri Paltan to seal their second Pro Kabaddi League crown in Mumbai on Saturday.
The Panthers finished the league on top of the standings, coming good in attack and defence, and carried that momentum into the playoffs with a thumping 49-29 win over Bengaluru Bulls in the semifinal and a close 33-29 win against Puneri Paltan in the final.
Team owner Abhishek Bachchan was at a loss for words after his side sealed the summit clash in their favour but dedicated the title win to the team’s senior-most player in the side - Rahul Chaudhari.
“Today before the final, I told Rahul that this will be a game for you. From season 1, he has been putting in the effort to make a name for himself so this title is for him. Rahul is the senior-most player in the team but Sunil is captain. However, the way he listened to everyone and gelled with the boys and contributed towards this team is incredible,” he said after the final.
Bachchan admitted that there were a few nervous moments for him and the management ahead of the big final.
“I went to the team hotel before this game and I was terrified because I think Puneri Paltan is the strongest unit in the league. He (skipper Sunil Kumar who was standing next to him), and the team reassured me that we will win and I am so proud of what they have managed here, “ Bachchan told the broadcasters after the game.
“This is the greatest sport on earth,” Bachchan, who also owned a football team in the nation’s top football league, said. “And its our sport and that’s why I love it. To come back to Mumbai, to my hometown and win it again, makes me so happy.”
Bachchan also credited his opponents and skipper Fazel Atrachali.
“I have to go a big shootout to Pune. Fazel is an idol to so many of these boys and this is such a good team. Don’t be surprised to see them in the playoffs next year,” he added.