The seventh season of Pro Kabaddi has entered its business end. For the first time since the league expanded to 12 teams the tournament has followed a double round-robin format with all teams in one single pool unlike two zones in the past two campaigns.
With the league entering its penultimate leg in Panchkula, the race for the playoff sports is reaching its climax and still, four out of the total six sports remain up for grabs.
Only Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors have sealed their places into the next stage but there is still the matter of league positions that will determine the difficulty of the route to the final.
The top two sides will directly advance into the semi-finals while the following four teams will have to fight it out in two eliminators to reach the last-four stage.
The fight for the top two spots is also far from over mathematically, but Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors seem to be firmly in the driver’s seat to take those spots.
Here’s a look at what each of the teams need to do to progress to the next stage.
(As of the end of matches on September 29, 2019)
(Points System: Win: 5 points, Tie: 3 points, Loss by less than 8 points: 1 point)
1. Dabang Delhi (P:20, Pts: 82, SD: +83)
The league leaders Dabang Delhi have assured their place in the semi-finals after securing a top-two finish in the league stage this season.
To finish top, Delhi need to win one game and at least tie the other to be assured of the top spot if Bengal Warriors win their remaining two matches. If they don’t, Dabang Delhi can seal the top spot with a win.
Remaining matches: UP Yoddha (6), U Mumba (4)
2. Bengal Warriors (P:20, Pts: 78, SD: +95)
Like Delhi, the Warriors too have booked their place in the playoffs. However, to confirm their place in the top two, Warriors need to win one of their last two matches. Even that may not be necessary if teams below them fail to pick up full points from their remaining games.
The Warriors still have a chance of finishing top of the points charts. They need to win their remaining two matches and hope the current leaders Delhi lose one of their games.
Remaining matches: Patna Pirates (10), Tamil Thalaivas (12)
3. Haryana Steelers (P:19, Pts: 65, SD: +24)
The Steelers have qualified for the playoffs. However, they would need to win all their games to have a realistic chance of finishing in the top two and hope the Bengal Warriors lose both their games by more than 7 points.
Remaining matches: Bengaluru Bulls (5), Telugu Titans (11), U Mumba (4)
4. U Mumba (P:19, Pts: 59, SD: +37)
The season two champions U Mumba need just a tie from their remaining three matches to ensure qualification. They will qualify even if they lose all matches by less than 8 points. If Jaipur Pink Panthers fail to collect full points from their remaining two matches, U Mumba would qualify.
For a top-three finish, U Mumba must win all their games and hope Steelers don’t collect more than nine points from their three matches.
Remaining matches: Patna Pirates (10), Haryana Steelers (3), Dabang Delhi (1)
5. Bengaluru Bulls (P:19, Pts: 58, SD: +12)
The defending champions Bengaluru Bulls need to win one of their three remaining games to ensure qualification for the playoffs. A tie and two defeats by less than 8 points would also ensure progress, so will two ties and a loss. This may not be necessary if Jaipur Pink Panthers fail to win their remaining two games.
The Bulls, owing to their low score difference have no chance of making the top two. To finish third, the Bulls need to win all their games and hope the Steelers lose two of their games by more than 8 points. They also need to hope UP Yoddha lose one of their remaining four matches.
Remaining matches: Haryana Steelers (3), Jaipur Pink Panthers (7), UP Yoddha (6)
6. UP Yoddha (P:18, Pts: 58, SD: -19)
UP Yoddha too need just a win to reach the playoffs for the third straight season. Like the Bulls, a tie and two defeats by less than 8 points would also ensure progress, so will two ties and a loss.
The Yoddha, by virtue of playing their home leg next, can finish third if they win all their games and Haryana Steelers lose one of their three remaining matches.
Remaining matches: Dabang Delhi (1), Puneri Paltan (9), Telugu Titans (11), Bengaluru Bulls (5)
7. Jaipur Pink Panthers (P:20, Pts: 52, SD: -18)
The Pink Panthers simply must win all their remaining games to trouble the four teams above them. If they win their two matches, they must hope U Mumba, UP Yoddha and Bengaluru Bulls don’t win a single match from hereon. A victory each for these three teams would spell the end for Jaipur even if they win all their games.
Remaining matches: Bengaluru Bulls (5), Tamil Thalaivas (12)
8. Gujarat Fortunegiants (P:20, Pts: 45, SD: +14)
The Fortunegiants are out of contention for a spot in the playoffs. They would want the Pink Panthers to lose both and one of it by more than 8 points in order to finish in seventh position.
Remaining matches: Patna Pirates (10), Telugu Titans (11)
9. Puneri Paltan (P:20, Pts: 42, SD: -71)
The Anup Kumar-coached side are out of contention for the playoffs. Pune though need to win their remaining matches to ensure they don’t fall below their current position
Remaining matches: Telugu Titans (11), UP Yoddha (6)
10. Patna Pirates (P:19, Pts: 40, SD: -1)
The three-time champions have had a campaign to forget and are out of the playoff race. Despite Pardeep Narwal’s heroics that sees him among the top three raiders in the league again, the Pirates have been let down by their erratic defence.
Remaining matches: U Mumba (4), Gujarat Fortunegiants (8), Bengal Warriors (2)
11. Telugu Titans (P:19, Pts: 39, SD: -39)
The Telugu Titans still have four games left but it is highly unlikely that it will help them coast into the playoffs. They must hope none of UP Yoddha and Bengaluru Bulls pick up a point in their remaining games and win all their matches in order to have a chance.
Remaining matches: Puneri Paltan (9), Haryana Steelers (3), Gujarat Fortunegiants (8), UP Yoddha (6)
12. Tamil Thalaivas (P:20, Pts: 30, SD: -117)
The Thalaivas have had an embarrassing season and are set to grab the wooden spoon for the third straight season. They have no chance of making it to the playoffs.
They have possibilities to avoid the wooden spoon, but their performances of late appear to be of a team waiting for the campaign to end. If they win their remaining three matches they can rise as high as eighth but that’s a possibility few in the Tamil Thalaivas camp appear to believe in. Their performances show they are resigned to their fate: another wooden spoon.
Remaining matches: Jaipur Pink Panthers (7), Bengal Warriors (2)