It has been all Patna Pirates in the third season of Pro Kabaddi so far. The Patna franchise are emulating what U Mumba did last season, and they are looking one of the prime title contenders in the Pro Kabaddi League 2016.
The Pirates finished fourth in both seasons of Pro Kabaddi so far, but this time, they might be on the verge of exceeding expectations. With six wins and a draw from their first seven games this season, the Manpreet Singh-led side are making some statement.
They started their campaign this season with a win over inaugural champions Jaipur Pink Panthers, and from there the momentum continued with wins over last season's finalists Bengaluru Bulls as well as defending champions U Mumba in their third match of the season.
Their 14-point margin victory over U Mumba was their biggest and most impressive.
Patna Pirates have recorded 96 successful raids in the first half of the season, while they also lead the table with 71 successful tackles. Among the players, Pardeep Narwal and Deepak Narwal have been brilliant for the side in both the attacking and the defending departments. The duo recorded 26 individual points between themselves as the Pirates thrashed rockbottom side Dabang Delhi 47-34 in their latest fixture.
Apart from Patna Pirates, this season of Pro Kabaddi thus far has seen a dream of a start from Bengal Warriors, who never even featured in the top four in the last two seasons. The Kolkata side, led by Nilesh Shinde, is currently second in the table with five wins and two losses so far.
The Warriors, who have a history of suffering injuries mid-season, recorded big wins this campaign over Telugu Titans, Bengaluru Bulls and Jaipur Pink Panthers, but their biggest victory as yet has been a massive 17-point hammering of Dabang Delhi. Raiders Nitin Tomar and Jang Kun Lee as well as defensive rock Girish Ernak have been the stars of the Bengal Warriors roster.
Their only defeats this season have come over leaders Patna Pirates and U Mumba, placed third in the table.
After a topsy-turvy start, the defending champions saw themselves slowly get back on track in the last three matches of the competition. U Mumba suffered defeats against Jaipur Pink Panthers and Patna Pirates in their first four matches of the season, but they then found theur rhythm. U Mumba recorded a 11-point win over Bengal Warriors in their last fixture, and that was a signal of things to come in the second leg of matches.
All-rounder Rishank Devadiga has been the only really consistent performer for U Mumba thus far, and we can expect to see the likes of Shabeer Bapu and Anup Kumar stepping up their performances in the next seven games, as the Mumbai side eye the playoffs once more.
Vizag, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Pune were the venues in the first leg of the Pro Kabaddi League this season. And now, the next set of seven matches each for all eight teams in the league season will decide the four teams who will qualify for the knockout stage of the competition.
Team standings with points: Patna Pirates ; Bengal Warriors ; U Mumba ; Telugu Titans ; Puneri Paltan ; Jaipur Pink Panthers ; Bengaluru Bulls ; Dabang Delhi .
Pro Kabaddi League 2016: Remaining fixtures
Venue: Patliputra Sports Complex, Patna
16 Feb: Match 29: Patna Pirates vs Bengal Warriors (8 PM IST)
16 Feb: Match 30: Telugu Titans vs Jaipur Pink Panthers (9 PM IST)
17 Feb: Match 31: Patna Pirates vs Bengaluru Bulls (8 PM IST)
18 Feb: Match 32: Bengaluru Bulls vs Dabang Delhi (8 PM IST)
18 Feb: Match 33: Patna Pirates vs Puneri Paltan (9 PM IST)
19 Feb: Match 34: Bengal Warriors vs Telugu Titans (8 PM IST)
19 Feb: Match 35: Patna Pirates vs U Mumba (9 PM IST)
Venue: Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
20 Feb: Match 36: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Bengaluru Bulls (8 PM IST)
20 Feb: Match 37: Puneri Paltan vs Dabang Delhi (9 PM IST)
21 Feb: Match 38: Telugu Titans vs Bengaluru Bulls (8 PM IST)
21 Feb: Match 39: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Puneri Paltan (9 PM IST)
22 Feb: Match 40: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Bengal Warriors (8 PM IST)
23 Feb: Match 41: Bengal Warriors vs U Mumba (8 PM IST)
23 Feb: Match 42: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Patna Pirates (9 PM IST)
Venue: Thyagaraj Sports Complex, Delhi
24 Feb: Match 43: Dabang Delhi vs Telugu Titans (8 PM IST)
25 Feb: Match 44: Bengaluru Bulls vs U Mumba (8 PM IST)
25 Feb: Match 45: Dabang Delhi vs Patna Pirates (9 PM IST)
26 Feb: Match 46: Puneri Paltan vs Telugu Titans (8 PM IST)
26 Feb: Match 47: Dabang Delhi vs Jaipur Pink Panthers (9 PM IST)
27 Feb: Match 48: Bengaluru Bulls vs Puneri Paltan (8 PM IST)
27 Feb: Match 49: Dabang Delhi vs Bengal Warriors (9 PM IST)
Venue: NSCI, Mumbai
28 Feb: Match 50: U Mumba vs Jaipur Pink Panthers (8 PM IST)
28 Feb: Match 51: Telugu Titans vs Patna Pirates (9 PM IST)
29 Feb: Match 52: U Mumba vs Puneri Paltan (8 PM IST)
1 Mar: Match 53: Bengal Warriors vs Bengaluru Bulls (8 PM IST)
1 Mar: Match 54: U Mumba vs Telugu Titans (9 PM IST)
2 Mar: Match 55: Puneri Paltan vs Bengal Warriors (8 PM IST)
2 Mar: Match 56: U Mumba vs Dabang Delhi (9 PM IST)
Venue: Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi
4 Mar: Semi-Final 1: Rank 1 vs Rank 4 (8 PM IST)
4 Mar: Semi-Final 2: Rank 2 vs Rank 3 (9 PM IST)
5 Mar: ¾ Place: Runner Up SF 1 vs Runner Up SF 2 (8 PM IST)
5 Mar: FINAL: Winner SF 1 vs Winner SF 2 (9 PM IST)