Pro Kabaddi League Week 4 - Tomar's dip in form, Haryana's resurgence

Pro Kabaddi League

From contrasting performances by two teammates to another last-gasp win, here are the talking points from the fourth week of Pro Kabaddi League's fifth season.

Who impressed, who disappointed

The Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the week was UP Yoddha's Rishank Devadiga. The former U Mumba raider has scored 64 raid points in 10 matches, second only to his captain Nitin Tomar's 65, but Devadiga has played one match less, attempted a considerably lower number of raids (134 to 152) and also doesn't have as many empty raids (43 to 71) to his name.

UP began their home leg at Lucknow by losing four consecutive matches and were only able to stem the bleeding somewhat with a 33-33 draw against Tamil Thalaivas, in which Devadiga was the star of the show - he scored 16 points overall, including a Super 10 - 10 successful raids in a match - that fetched him 14 points. Devadiga also scored 14 raid points, including another Super 10, in UP's 34-37 loss to U Mumba. UP may well have lost all six of their home games if it weren't for Devadiga's brilliance.

The Most Disappointing Player (MDP) of the week was Tomar. The most expensive player at this year's auctions has failed to live up to his billing. The number of empty raids Tomar continues to accumulate has resulted in the UP captain spending a disproportionate amount of time off the mat, which also hurts the team's chances by robbing it of a player in defence.

To be fair, however, Tomar has sparked a slight hope of a turnaround in his form, scoring six raid points, including a crucial raid in the last minute, in UP's 25-23 win over Telugu Titans in their last home game.

Panga of the week

The panga (clash) of the week goes to Jaipur Pink Panthers' thrilling 30-28 win over the Bengaluru Bulls. The match had several fluctuations in momentum, the first of which came when Rohit Kumar, Bengaluru's most dependable player, compensated for his team's slow start by pulling off a series of raids to level scores and then put Bengaluru ahead 12-8. It was Jaipur's turn next as Jasvir Singh's raids helped them tie the game at 12-12 before enforcing an all out to lead 17-14.

Like in the first half, Bengaluru had a slow start to the second as Jaipur capitalised, with the combination of Jasvir's raids and captain Manjeet Chhillar's tackles giving Jaipur a hefty 26-16 lead.

The match wasn't quite done yet, though, as Bengaluru mounted another comeback, enforcing an all out to reduce the deficit to 28-29. Jaipur managed to avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, though, as Jasvir scored a raid point in the final seconds to get the win.

Tactical genius and dud

Haryana Steelers won both their matches this week, one a close 27-25 victory over Dabang Delhi and the other a relatively more comfortable 36-29 defeat of UP. Defender Surender Nada, who has scored 33 tackle points from 43 tackles in six matches, played a crucial role in both games, scoring seven tackle points against UP. A solid defensive performance in the first half against Delhi allowed Haryana enough margin of error to avert a second-half scare for victory. In a young, new team, Nada has combined forces with Mohit Chhillar to marshal Haryana's defence, making it the best in the league along with that of Gujarat Fortunegiants.

Tomar once again attracts criticism for his handling of the captaincy of UP, who won one match, drew another and lost four during their home leg. UP now have four wins out of 11 and top the Zone B standings, although that is in part because only one other team has played as many matches. Overdependence on Devadiga and a poor defence are some of the issues plaguing the team and Tomar has so far implemented no alternative tactics to address those weaknesses.

Upcoming star

In a match in which Jaipur were missing their talisman Manjeet, Nitin Rawal stepped up and scored five points in his team's 24-22 win over UP, including a crucial raid point in the 37th minute to tie the game at 19-19.

International khiladi

Gujarat won their only match of the Lucknow leg, a one-sided 35-21 win over Puneri Paltan, mainly due to the brilliance of Fazel Atrachali. The Iranian defender scored nine points in the match, neutralising raiders of the quality of Deepak Niwas Hooda and Sandeep Narwal, and took his tally of tackle points to 26 from 10 matches, a record for this season.

Team of the week

After four weeks, three teams have played 10 or 11 matches, while most of the rest have played six. Although choosing a best team is tricky, our pick for the week is Haryana Steelers. Haryana played and won both their matches, one of which was a tight win that will no doubt boost the confidence of their young team. With a defence that looks well-organised and settled, and Vikas Kandola's successful raiding, Haryana are slowly but surely starting to seem as unstoppable as Gujarat.

Final word

Of the four legs - Hyderabad, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Lucknow - completed so far, only Gujarat have done well at home. Bengaluru lost three and won two out of their six games in Nagpur, where their matches were shifted due to the unavailability of the Kanteerava Stadium. It was a similar story for Telugu Titans and UP.

As the action moves to Mumbai, the focus will shift to U Mumba, with the 2015 champions having looked unimpressive in winning and losing three matches each. It will also be interesting to see if Tomar can finally start to turn his form around.