The Haryana Steelers finished a mixed home leg of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 7 with two wins and two losses in Panchkula on Friday. They did confirm their place in the playoffs, however, as did U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls.
Here are our power rankings from the eleventh leg of the season:
#10 V Ajith Kumar
Raider, Tamil Thalaivas
Even as the Thalaivas' miserable season continued, with the team losing both their matches in Panchkula, Ajith Kumar put in yet another performance that showed he has been a silver lining for them this season. Ajith scored 16 points in the team's loss to U Mumba and his overall tally of 107 points is not far behind that of Rahul Chaudhari, the team's top raider.
#9 Ravi Kumar
Defender, Haryana Steelers
In addition to the likes of Vikash Kandola and Prashanth Kumar Rai, Ravi Kumar also impressed for Haryana during their home leg. He was the team's best defender in two of their four matches, scoring High 5s in both those games. His seven-point effort in the team's final game at home helped Haryana finish the leg on a winning note.
#8 Deepak Narwal
Raider, Jaipur Pink Panthers
Jaipur played and won their one game in Panchkula. It was a crucial victory because it keeps alive their hopes of making the playoffs over UP Yoddha. Their chances are slim, however, and do not rest entirely in their own hands, with UP a point ahead and with three more matches to play. Jaipur have Deepak Narwal to thank for reviving them, somewhat, from a slump that saw them drop out of the top two all the way down to seventh. Deepak scored both his Super 10s in the two wins the team have recorded in their last three matches.
#7 Nitesh Kumar
Defender, UP Yoddha
Sumit has overshadowed his captain Nitesh Kumar, the find of the season for UP Yoddha in the last edition, as a defender. Still, Nitesh has not been too far behind. He came up with a match-winning High 5 in the team's one match this week, which allowed UP to keep their noses ahead of Jaipur Pink Panthers in the race for the final playoff berth. He will need to come up with more such performances in a tricky home leg for the team.
#6 Naveen Kumar
Raider, Dabang Delhi KC
The best player of this season scored almost 20 points in his team's 60-40 win over Puneri Paltan. Even as Naveen received little support from the raiders and defenders in his team's loss to Bengal Warriors in their second match of the week, he was still the top scorer with 15 points. He has scored a Super 10 in all but one of his team's 20 matches so far.
#5 Vikash Kandola
Raider, Haryana Steelers
There appears to be a strong correlation between Haryana's fortunes and the performances of Kandola, the team's best raider this season. That certainly held true during their week playing at home. In the two matches Haryana lost, Kandola scored five and six points. He managed Super 10s in both their victories, scoring 10 and 13 points.
What is important for Haryana is that Kandola regained his touch in the last match of the leg, his performance solidifying the team's grasp on that third spot in the table.
#4 Fazel Atrachali
Defender, U Mumba
While Abhishek Singh has been the pillar of U Mumba's attack, Fazel has commandeered the defence. The experienced left corner has been the team's best defender, well supported by Sandeep Narwal. Fazel pulled off crucial tackles in the team's two wins in Panchkula that confirmed their place in the playoffs. Particularly efficient with his tackles, Fazel is currently joint second on the list of successful tackles this season.
#3 Maninder Singh
Raider, Bengal Warriors
Bengal played -- and won -- just the one match in Panchkula, but it was a crucial victory because it came against table-toppers Delhi. The victory allowed second-placed Bengal to close the gap on Delhi and still stand a chance of displacing them to finish top of the table. Maninder led his team from the front, as he has done all season, and scored a Super 10 in the match.
#2 Abhishek Singh
Raider, U Mumba
U Mumba's best raider this season, Abhishek scored a Super 10 the victory over the Tamil Thalaivas in their first match in Panchkula and seven points in the win over Patna Pirates -- the latter victory confirming their place in the playoffs for a second successive year. Abhishek deserves much of the credit for U Mumba's performances this season -- he has done a good job of not letting the team feel Siddharth Desai's absence.
#1 Pawan Kumar Sehrawat
Raider, Bengaluru Bulls
The Season 6 MVP scored a staggering 39 points in Bengaluru's 59-36 win over the home team. In doing so, not only did Pawan break the PKL record of most points by a player in a single match, previously held by Pardeep Narwal with 34 points, he also helped the defending champions secure their place in the playoffs.
In their second match in Panchkula, Pawan scored another Super 10 even as his team was outplayed in both offence and defence by Jaipur.