Competing against rest of the 11 teams participating in Pro Kabaddi League, Patna Pirates had been the winners for past three seasons, a winning streak they could not continue this season. Although the Pirates performed well this season too, maintaining the second rank in Zone B teams for a long time, ultimately they could not move forward to the Playoffs.
In total 22 matches played by them, they won 9, lost 1 and had 2 ties. It was obviously not a positive tilt in their favour, yet some of their most spectacular wins had given us a glimpse of their potential. The last victory against Puneri Paltan, for example, was definitely a match that was historic in many ways than others. It was in this match that Pardeep Narwal became the first player to complete a cumulative 800 points from all seasons of the league. While some of the players did give their individual best this time around, the whole team effort could not hold up against stronger opposition.
With one of the best raiders of the game on their team, a competent defence and all-rounders line up, Pirates had a decently strong team. From what observed, they predominantly depended on the raiders for scoring and sometimes missed out the key aspects of defence. Unfortunately, they gave away a lot of points in that area, which could have otherwise led to their victory. This pattern can be seen in the raid points versus tackle points ratios of several matches; a major contributor to their loss.
In most of the matches they played, it was the tackle points and bonus points that were game changers for their opposition. It is an important balancing act for a team to be equally good at raiding and defending. Pirates could not fully find the mentioned stabilising dynamic, thus losing games even in the middle of small winning streaks. When the raiders were doing well the defenders showed poor performance and vice versa, causing them to lose many matches. It could be seen when they won 5 consecutive matches in November and then had a tie before they lost to Gujarat team.
Growth of the team
Despite getting a good pick of players at the auction, Patna definitely had a fluctuating performance. They bagged experienced captain Pardeep Narwal again along with a decent list of great players. Officially designated as a raider, Manjeet of the Pirates was a player worth mentioning from the squad. Unofficially, an all-rounder, he showed to be a tall and strong powerhouse player. Successfully dabbling in the tackle points with ease outside of his raiding prowess, he made a specific niche for himself. Quite similarly, fellow teammate Deepak Narwal made himself a top favourite for the do-or-die raids. Jaideep as the main defender held the fort in defence supported mostly by Vikas Kale. In a way, the Patna team matured and players found their own unique role to fulfil even amidst the team’s shortcomings.
By the end of their journey in 2018, Patna faced the biggest threat from 4 major teams, namely: Bengaluru Bulls, Dabang Delhi, Gujarat Fortune Giants and U Mumba. The Mumbai and Gujarat teams featured top 2 defenders in the game, a not-so-good fact for the Patna Pirates. U Mumbai also had one of the highest scoring raiders of the ongoing season, Siddharth Sirish Desai on their team. Incidentally, the Bengaluru team had another great raider in form of Pawan Kumar Sehrawat; all of them being competitors to Patna’s Pardeep Narwal on the charts.
Pirates have shown their mettle 3 times in the previous seasons to establish themselves as a team to keep an eye on, even when they couldn’t get to the Playoffs this time. With the fire to prove themselves once again, one can expect great play from Patna Pirates in the future. With amazing support from their fans and better strategies, Patna Pirates won’t back down from the challenges of next season of Pro Kabaddi League!