Pro Kabaddi League 2018-19 has commenced in style. Defending champions, and the league's most successful side, Patna Pirates were stunned by Tamil Thalaivas in a one-sided battle. The eventual result, and manner of Patna's defeat, came much as a shock but credit goes to Thalaivas' camp thoroughly. Patna, enroute their fourth consecutive title, looked completely out of elements in the first period, getting all out on two occasions as lacking offensive as well as defensive skill to trouble the home team. Their slide continued as they game progressed; handing a comfortable and inspiring victory to Thalaivas. The final scoreline read 42-26, depicting Thalaivas' performance.
In the second match, former champions U-Mumba held local rivals Puneri Paltan for an entertaining draw (32-32) at a packed Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium (JLN) on Sunday. After inflicting the sole all-out of the encounter in the fading stages of the first half, U Mumba pulled away from 20-20 at one stage early on in the second period to lead by two points in the dying seconds of the tie. However, a successful raid from Monu was followed by the Pune defence breaching past U Mumba's star raider Siddharth Desai to the mat which dented their winning start in the sixth edition. U Mumba had a torrid time last year by losing last four of their five matches to miss out on the playoffs' berth.
The match was an example of the fitness from both sides. It was a keenly-fought encounter wherein Pune's Nitin Tomar amassed 15 raid points, and U Mumba's Desai had one less up his sleeves. Despite an enthralling draw, U Mumba are yet to get past Paltans in five out of their last six meetings.
To remind the readers
The three-month format - introduced in 2017- continues in Season 6 as the 12 participating teams are divided into two zones of six teams each. Every team will play a set of 15 intra-zone and seven inter-zonal matches - in the 'Inter-zonal challenge week'.
The top three teams from each zone will proceed to the play-offs and play the qualifiers and eliminators before the summit clash. The top-two teams in the playoofs will get an extra opportunity to seal a place in the final.