Bengaluru Bulls path to semis
The reigning champions fought a mighty battle against a spirited UP Yoddha team and prevailed by a scoreline of 48-45 in Eliminator 1 to make it to the Semi-finals. The match had initially finished 36-36 and needed extra-time to decide a winner. Two massive raids from Pawan Kumar Sehrawat in the first-ever extra-time in Pro Kabaddi history ensured victory for Bengaluru Bulls, setting up a showdown against Dabang Delhi.
Dabang Delhi's path to semis
Dabang Delhi earned a direct semi-final entry by finishing top of the Pro Kabaddi League 2019 standings. They registered 85 points thanks to the 15 wins and three. They also lost just four, which was the least in the season. Having tied one and won one against Bengaluru Bulls, Dabang Delhi will be confident of extending their winning record against the reigning champions.
Bulls - Best Raider - Pawan Kumar Sehrawat
The ‘Hi-Flyer' was on song for Bengaluru Bulls against U.P. Yoddha and eventually proved to be the difference between the two sides. The reigning MVP finished the match with 20 raid points, nine more than the next best raider, in what was another incredible performance from the league's leading raid point scorer.
When Sehrawat struggled to get going in the first half and the early parts of the second, it was raider Sumit Singh who kept the scoreboard ticking for Bengaluru Bulls and reviving the ‘Hi-Flyer'. Sumit scored seven raid points and was tackled just twice. His performance should give a sense of security to Sehrawat going forward, who will be able to raid knowing that the youngster can pick up points and revive him if need be.
Bulls - Best Defender – Mahender Singh
Bengaluru Bulls' defence had a rather quiet outing, as they scored just nine tackle points against UP Yoddha. Stand-out Cover Mahender Singh was yet again the pick of the bunch, finishing with four tackle points.
Bengaluru Bulls' defence was the fourth-lowest scoring defensive unit during the league stage and, in the Eliminator, their total of nine tackle points was fewer than what UP Yoddha's Corner duo Nitesh Kumar and Sumit managed on their own. With Dabang Delhi boasting of a three-pronged raiding attack, Bengaluru Bulls' defensive unit will need to step up and perform better against Naveen Kumar and co.
Dabang Delhi - Best Raider – Naveen Kumar
With 19 consecutive Super 10s and, a league record, 20 in total this season, Naveen Kumar has had a campaign to remember. The youngster has broken numerous records in his 21 appearances so far this season and has led Dabang Delhi to their maiden Semi-final appearance in Pro Kabaddi.
While Naveen has undoubtedly been Dabang Delhi's lead raider, his teammates Chandran Ranjit and Vijay have also been quite impactful in attack, scoring 110 and 43 raid points respectively. Their attack also boasts of the experienced Meraj Sheykh, who has come in handy over the course of the season. With a raiding unit as stacked as theirs, it comes as no surprise that Dabang Delhi lead the league with an average of 21.91 raid points per game.
Dabang Delhi - Best Defender – Ravinder Pahal
Veteran Ravinder Pahal has enjoyed another outstanding campaign for Dabang Delhi, finishing the league campaign as the team's leading tackle point scorer with 59 in 21 appearances. The Right Corner has been well-supported by his partner on the opposite flank, team captain Joginder Singh Narwal, who has 46 tackle points this season.
Sturdy Cover defenders Vishal Mane and Amit Kumar have also been reliable, scoring 26 and 33 tackle points respectively. Dabang Delhi's decision to retain their experienced defensive trio of Pahal, Joginder and Mane coupled with the addition of Amit Kumar has worked out just as well as they would have hoped. The defence has looked formidable throughout the season and they would be aiming to continue that run through the playoffs as well.
Match start time and where to watch
Bengaluru Bulls vs Dabang Delhi match starts at 7.30 PM IST on Wednesday (October 16). The game will be shown live on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2HD, while HotStar will also live stream the game.