Pro Kabaddi 2019 Final Talking Points: From Maninder's injury scare to Naveen Kumar's golden run
Ahead of a Pro Kabaddi's summit clash, here are a few key talking points, from injury scares and trump cards to a unique rivalry.
Dabang Delhi takes on Bengal Warriors as the two top times of the Pro Kabaddi League bid for their maiden title.
The stage is all set for the emergence of a new champion. Dabang Delhi will take on Bengal Warriors in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 2019) final on Saturday at the EKA Arena, as both teams continue their quest for a maiden title.
Dabang Delhi reached the summit clash courtesy of a comfortable win over defending champion Bengaluru Bulls, while Bengal Warriors edged past U Mumba to claim its maiden final berth.
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Here are some of the key talking points ahead of the biggest game of the season:
- Maninder scare for Bengal Warriors -
Bengal Warriors' captain Maninder Singh remains a doubt for the PKL 2019 final. The muscular raider picked up a shoulder injury during the final league stage match against Dabang Delhi and hasn't taken to the mat yet.
Talking ahead of the final, Maninder said he is keen to play but will need a clearance from the team's physio. “It's a huge match and I'm raring to go, but I also need to be declared fit to play,” he said.
In the event that Maninder is declared unfit, Warriors has enough firepower in its support raiders to take the team through. K. Prapanjan, Mohammed Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, and Sukesh Hegde have contributed 49 percent of the team's total raid points and are equipped to get the job done. But the side will hope that Maninder, who has 205 points to his name in PKL 2019, can feature in the last game of the season.
READ : PKL Final Preview: Bengal Warriors holds slight edge over table-topper Dabang Delhi
- Dabang Delhi captain Joginder Narwal recovering from back spasm -
Dabang Delhi had a bit of an injury scare when seasoned campaigner and captain Joginder Narwal appeared to have suffered back spasm. The veteran had missed the pre-match conference on Friday, but has recovered since
Dabang Delhi has one of the most watertight defensive units with Vishal Mane as right cover, Ravinder Pahal as right corner, Anil Kumar as left cover and Joginder as left corner. While Joginder is almost certain to play the PKL 2019 final, in the unlikely event that he is ruled out, Iran's Saeid Ghaffari could take his spot on the mat.
- Coach vs disciple: Hooda versus Ramesh -
One key battle to look forward to at the PKL 2019 final is the battle of the coaches – Krishan Kumar Hoods versus B. C. Ramesh. Dabang Delhi coach Hooda was the Indian kabaddi national team's coach when Ramesh was a player! From there to now facing off in the final, the two have enjoyed a remarkable relationship.
Teacher and student will face off as Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors take to the mat in the summit clash of the Pro Kabaddi League.
Showering affection on his mentee, Hooda said: “I want to congratulate Ramesh for developing into such a good coach. He won the title with Bengaluru Bulls last year and he is in the final again this year. I was casually telling him that if we had PKL during his playing days, then he would have easily fetched bids upward of Rs. 1 crore.”
Ramesh promised his team would put up a good show and also hinted at the luck factor: “The final is a great platform for the players to show their skills. It is a fine chance for us to promote the game and to take it past cricket,” he said. “We had luck with us when I was with the Bulls last year and it plays a huge role. Let's see who luck favours in the final,” he added.
- The Naveen Kumar factor -
Naveen Kumar has broken records aplenty this season. The most fascinating being his record astonishing record of 20 consecutive Super 10's. Firmly establishing himself as the league's most consistent player, Naveen has scored a minimum of 10 points over the last 20 games he has played.
And going into the PKL 2019 final, the 19-year-old seems to already have the upper hand over the Bengal Warriors defence. He has a 6-1 record against left corner Rinku Narwal, while he has a 7-3 record against right cover Mayur Shivtarkar.
Naveen has also scored the most points in the opening 10 minutes this season -- 80 points – and Dabang Delhi will hope he can get the side off to a strong start against a defence that he has outfoxed on previous occasions.