Bengal Warriors jumped to second in the points table after a solid home leg that saw them stay unbeaten throughout, winning three and tying one of their four games. Three-time champions Patna Pirates also won both their matches to jump three places up to ninth as Pardeep Narwal became the first player in PKL history to reach the milestone of 1,000 career points.
Here are our power rankings from the eighth leg of the season:
#10 Pawan Kumar Sehrawat
Raider, Bengaluru Bulls
Defending champions Bengaluru played just one match this week, which they lost by just two points to Bengal but Sehrawat was still their best performer, racking up 19 points from just 20 raids. His raid point tally in the match was more than double the tally of raid points secured by the team's other raiders (nine) and ensured that Bengaluru did not lose by a heavier margin and got a point from the match to stay comfortable in fourth place.
#9 Fazel Atrachali
Defender, U Mumba
Playing in his sixth season in the PKL, Fazel has been remarkably consistent throughout, as he's fourth on the list of all-time tackle points scored. He's been an inspirational captain for a young U Mumba outfit, marshalling the defence expertly and was the top-scoring defender in both of their matches last week, where they won one of their two matches.
#8 Naveen Kumar
Raider, Dabang Delhi KC
Naveen had a rare off day against Haryana Steelers as Delhi suffered only their second loss this season. However, he was still the top-scoring raider in the match with 11 points despite being tackled twice.
That match was only a temporary blip though as Delhi defeated Tamil Thalaivas 50-34 in their next game, in the process becoming the first team to score 50 points in a match this season. As has generally been the case, Naveen was the chief architect of the win, scoring 17 points from just 23 attempts.
#7 Sandeep Kumar Dhull
Defender, Jaipur Pink Panthers
Dhull has accounted for 54 of the 164 tackle points picked up by Jaipur this season, almost 33 per cent. Jaipur's defence has looked rather imposing when Dhull is on the mat and he maintained his consistency this season by scoring a High 5 in each of their two matches in this leg.
Dhull's five High 5s are the joint-most this season with Vishal Bhardwaj and Baldev Singh and his average of 3.6 tackle points per match is only exceeded by Bhardwaj. He will have to maintain that standard though if Jaipur are to make the playoffs as the rest of their defence has struggled when he has had an off day.
Defender, Patna Pirates
Defence has been Patna's bugbear for a few seasons now but Jaideep has often stood tall, with his strong ankle holds troubling many an accomplished raider. After having an up and down season, he showed glimpses of his best form in the match against Tamil Thalaivas, where he scored seven tackle points against good raiders like Rahul Chaudhari and V Ajith Kumar.
He also chipped in with a super tackle against Jaipur that ultimately proved crucial in a close contest that seesawed until the end.
#5 Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh
Allrounder, Bengal Warriors
Many eyebrows were raised when Nabibakhsh fetched a bid of Rs. 77.75 lakh from Bengal at the auctions before this season. He has lived up to that bidding though as he was pivotal in the Warriors' staying unbeaten in their home leg.
The Iranian is a true all-rounder as he has the ability to turn a match around in offence as well as defence. Despite being known more for his raiding prowess, Nabibakhsh was Bengal's top defender in their matches against formidable teams like Mumba and Bengaluru.
#4 Vikash Kandola
Raider, Haryana Steelers
After losing three of their first four matches this season, Haryana have lost only one of their last ten matches and Kandola has been at the centre of that success, scoring six Super 10s in the 11 matches he has played this season.
He was particularly impressive in the win against table-toppers Delhi, scoring 10 points while being tackled only twice. He saves his best for do-or-die raids, where his tally of 23 points is second only to Pardeep.
#3 Arjun Deshwal
Raider, U Mumba
The 19-year-old Deshwal played only three matches last season but has come into his own this season and assumed the role of Mumba's lead raider as the season has wore on. Mumba looked to be short on raiding quality after choosing to let go of Siddharth Desai, their best performer last season.
Deshwal has impressively stepped into that breach and has thrived under Atrachali's aggressive leadership, scoring 25 points in their last two matches and also helping out the defence with smart tackles despite primarily being a raider.
#2 Pardeep Narwal
Raider, Patna Pirates
Pardeep has been the PKL's best player since its inception and it was a fitting reward when he became the first player to score 1000 points in the tournament. While that achievement is impressive, what will impress Patna more is the fact that he finally seemed close to his best in this leg after looking slightly off-colour earlier in the season.
Pardeep needed just two matches to amass 40 points in the Kolkata leg and if he continues in the same vein, Patna will not count themselves out of contention for the Playoffs just yet.
#1 Maninder Singh
Raider, Bengal Warriors
He might not get as much appreciation as some of the league's other poster boys but Maninder has continued to soldier on in the PKL and this is proving to be one of his most successful seasons yet in spite of the added responsibility of captaincy.
Maninder was Bengal's top raider in three of their four matches in the home leg and even as his trusted lieutenant K Prapanjan seemed to be slowing down, Maninder only seemed to go from strength to strength, ending the leg by scoring an impressive tally of 17 points against defending champions Bengaluru.