The new season gets under way on the 28th July 8PM IST (India Standard Time), that’s 3:30PM BST (British Summer Time). The first round of matches take place in Hyderabad with Telugu Titans v Tamil Thalaivas first, followed by U Mumba v Puneri Paltan. The full schedule is given below.
If you want to know more about the league and also the rules check out: ProKabaddi Season 5 Announced and International Kabaddi Rules. Also if you want to see who’s gone where in the recent auction then check out: PKL Season 5 Auction Review.
How does the league work?
The season works as follows, teams are split into two geographical zones, the North East zone and the South West zone, Zone A and B respectively. Zone A will have teams Delhi, Harayana, Jaipur, Gujarat, Mumbai and Pune, whereas Zone B includes Tamil, Telugu, Patna, Bengaluru, Bengal and UP.
Each team will play the 5 other teams in their zone 3 times, meaning a total of 15 matches for each team. The teams will then play the other 6 teams in the other zone once. Meaning another 6 matches for each team. Then there will be one round of wildcard matches, where each team will play a team from the other zone once. Thus in total each team will play 22 matches in the league format.
Then it is time for the play-offs, the winner of zone A and the winner of zone B will play each other for a place in the final. Then 2nd in zone A will play 3rd in zone B and vice versa. The winners of these two matches will play against each other, the winner of this will play the loser of the first match for a chance to be in the final.
Which teams are the strongest?
Looking at the teams, they are all evenly matched so its difficult to pick the favourite at the moment, but instead I’ll give some key players and duos to look out for.
- Starting with Bengal warriors, the star player is of course Korea’s Jang Kun Lee, his success will ultimately be the team’s success in this league. For the Bengaluru Bulls, they will be looking to Rohit Kumar to secure the raid points, but the key area for the bulls is probably in defence and whether or not Ravinder Pahal will be at his best or not.
- Dabang Delhi will be relying on the key duo of Bajirao Hodage and Nilesh Shinde to sure up their defence as well as the leadership of Meyraj Sheyak to get them into the knockouts. Gujarat FortuneGiants will look to the experience of Sukesh Hegde and Fazel Atrachali to guide the youngsters in raiding and defence respectively.
- Harayana Steelers will be relying heavily on the defensive duo of Surender Nada and Mohit Chhillar to win them games, although arguably the best defensive duo. Jaipur Pink Panthers have perhaps one of the strongest sides with both stalwarts Jasvir Singh and Manjeet Chhillar.
- Patna Pirates have the best raider from Season 4 Pardeep Narwal but they also have a strong cover in Vishal Mane, no doubt these two will be key for Patna. Puneri Paltan also have two top class players in Deepak Niwas Hooda and Sandeep Narwal, if these two are always playing then Pune have every chance of making the final.
- Tamil Thalaivas will also be heavily reliant on one player and that is Ajay Thakur, they will be looking to this star man to secure the majority of their raid points. Telugu Titans will likewise will be looking to Rahul Chaudhari to secure most of their raid points in what looks like a one man team.
- U Mumba will no doubt look to Anup Kumar for leadership but will be sharing raiding duties with Kashiling Adake. Finally U.P. Yoddha look a strong side with Nitin Tomar leading the raiding and Jeeva Kumar in defence.
Overall then its difficult to pick a winner, but I would say Jaipur, Mumbai and UP look the strongest.
Full PKL Season 5 Schedule
Match 1 & 2 previews coming up next…