PKL 5 weekly round-up: Rohit's record run, UP's damp squib

From Rohit Kumar's heroics to the Bengaluru Bulls playing spoiler, here are some of the talking points from Week 12 of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 5.

Who impressed, who disappointed

Bengaluru captain Rohit was the star of the show in his team's 64-24 thrashing of UP Yoddha, a match that was supposed to have been played in the last week of August but was postponed due to the floods in Mumbai. Rohit was in top form from start to finish, completing a highly efficient 27 successful raids out of 31 attempted, with just three unsuccessful and one empty raid. He scored 32 points, of which 30 were raid points - taking his season raid points tally past 200 - while the remaining two came from his enforcement of a super tackle. Such was the gulf in performance between Rohit and everyone else on the court that the next-highest point tally - 11 - was by UP's Surender Singh.

UP Yoddha have had a somewhat underwhelming debut PKL season so far, with little momentum built under the ineffective captaincy of Nitin Tomar, kabaddi's Rs. 93-lakh man. That UP are in the playoffs has more to do with the fact that three teams - Bengaluru, Telugu Titans and Tamil Thalaivas - didn't make the cut, mostly due to their over-reliance on one player, than it has to do with their own good play. Under such circumstances, a win in their last group match would have given UP a valuable boost ahead of the playoffs. Instead, they ended up with a result that is likely to have the opposite effect. Stand-in captain Rajesh Narwal's leadership was as uninspired as his play - no points scored from two raids and five tackles - as UP failed to react to the onslaught from Bengaluru.

Panga of the week

Out of two draws and a match won by a margin of one point, our pick for clash of the week is the 29-29 tie between Patna Pirates and Bengaluru Bulls. The match, which began with Patna taking a 4-0 lead before Bengaluru got on the board, soon got into a pattern of Patna taking slight leads, only for Bengaluru to restore parity. Thanks to Rohit's raiding, Bengaluru took an 18-16 lead at half-time.

Bengaluru continued to raid and defend well in the second half, holding a one-point lead going into the final 10 minutes. With two minutes remaining, Patna, displaying the mettle that has made them two-time defending champions, came back from 28-25 down to lead 29-28. Bengaluru then scored a raid point to level scores. Pardeep Narwal, Patna's star raider, had a chance to get his team the win, but recorded a rare empty raid in the last few seconds.

Tactical genius and dud

Haryana Steelers captain Surender Nada is our tactical genius for his role in Haryana's crucial 31-27 win over Puneri Paltan in their last match. The win ensured Haryana stayed in Zone A's second place, a spot they were later displaced from after Pune went on to win one of their two remaining matches.

There was little to choose between the two teams as Deepak Hooda's raiding for Pune was cancelled out by Prashanth Kumar Rai's effort for Haryana. Trailing 23-20 with five minutes left on the clock, Haryana enforced an all-out to gain a 25-24 lead before Surender successfully enforced two key tackles to seal victory.

For failing to even attempt to counter Bengaluru's dominant display against his team, UP's Rajesh Narwal is our pick for tactical dud.

Upcoming star

Although Pune lost 22-23 to Gujarat in the season's last group stage match, they had defender Rinku Narwal for making the match a tight one. Rinku scored six of his seven points through tackles and only had one unsuccessful tackle to his name. His defending forced Gujarat to dig deep for a last-gasp victory.

International khiladi

The ever-dependable Jang Kun Lee is our international player of the week for his eight raid points scored for Bengal Warriors in a 37-37 tie against Telugu. Trailing 37-34 with four minutes remaining, Lee scored two of Bengal's last three points to give his team a crucial draw. After Patna also drew their last match, the tie ensured Bengal finish top of Zone B, giving them a potentially easier path to the final.

Team of the week

With their playoff hopes ruled out, Bengaluru had nothing but pride to play for this week and the lack of pressure appeared to have played a part in their play as they recorded two victories against UP and a commendable draw against Patna. Bengaluru also played a potentially disruptive role in the standings, handing UP a rough reality check and denying defending champions Patna the easiest route to the final.

Final word

At the start of the season, it seemed there would be little to stop Patna from winning a third straight PKL title. But their momentum faltered towards the end of the long season and now, it will be interesting to see if they can win two eliminators and a qualifier just to earn the chance to defend their title.