UP Yoddha finished their home leg of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 7 in Greater Noida on Friday, with three wins and a loss. Not only did UP book the sixth and final playoff berth, their performance at home also helped them finish third in the points table. U Mumba came up with a similar late surge to finish fourth in the standings, while Dabang Delhi KC reclaimed the top spot after a couple of untimely losses.
Here are our power rankings from the 12th and final group-stage leg of the season:
#10 GB More
Raider, Gujarat Fortunegiants
Out of contention for the playoffs, Gujarat had only pride to play for in their final two matches of the season. Raider More was one of the players who shone for the team in those matches - he came up with a 15-point effort in the team's loss to Patna Pirates and seven points in the win over Telugu Titans. More contributed to both offence and defence, with his 15 points consisting of 11 raid points and four tackle points. Although his contribution wasn't the most substantial in Gujarat's win, he played a part in helping the team end a disappointing season on a winning note.
#9 V Ajith Kumar
Raider, Tamil Thalaivas
At the start of this season, the raiding partnership between Ajay Thakur and Rahul Chaudhari was the most exciting thing about the Thalaivas -- a partnership that, in theory, had the potential to turn around the team's fortunes. However, after another edition in which the team has flattered to deceive, it's Ajith who has been one of the biggest positives for the team. The latest of his five Super 10s helped the Thalaivas win just their fourth match of this season. With 121 points from 19 matches, his tally is only 17 points behind Rahul, the team's top raider this season.
#8 Neeraj Kumar
Defender, Patna Pirates
Aside from Pardeep Narwal's form, one of the positives for Patna this season has been the performance of right corner Neeraj Kumar. Neeraj managed 59 tackle points from 22 matches, including four High 5s, with a substantial 11 tackle points his most in a match.
#7 Siddharth Desai
Raider, Telugu Titans
The Titans were another team that disappointed this season, but it wasn't for lack of effort from their star player Siddharth, the most expensive player at this year's auction. The Titans lost their first match in Noida to Gujarat and won their second, over UP, with Siddharth scoring 13 and 15 points respectively, in those two matches. Last season, Siddharth finished with 221 total points from 21 matches. This time, he managed a tally of 220 from 22 matches for fourth place on the list of total points, with Bengal Warriors' Maninder Singh close on his heels.
#6 Pardeep Narwal
Raider, Patna Pirates
Unsurprisingly, Pardeep starred in both of Patna's wins in Noida. Against a second-string Bengal Warriors side, he ran riot, scoring 36 points, the second-highest individual score in a match by any player in the league. In a win over Gujarat, he scored 17 points.
After missing out on the playoffs, Patna have a lot of thinking to do with regard to their team combination and how to support Pardeep, but they don't have to worry about their star raider's form. Finishing with 304 points from 22 matches, second only to Pawan Kumar Sehrawat, Pardeep also became the first player in the PKL to score 1000 points.
#5 Abhishek Singh
Raider, U Mumba
After booking their place in the playoffs, Mumba made good use of their matches in Noida. They won one match and tied another to climb a place in the points table, setting up an eliminator against Haryana, a team they beat just a couple of matches ago. Although Abhishek didn't play against Haryana, he scored a Super 10 in the tie against Delhi, his consistency a big part of why Mumba find themselves back in the playoffs this season.
#4 Naveen Kumar
Raider, Dabang Delhi KC
Naveen did not play in Delhi's thrashing at the hands of UP but he did feature in the team's tie against Mumba. Naveen scored 12 points for his 20th Super 10 in 21 matches, a performance that was crucial as it helped Delhi finish on top of the table and regain a bit of momentum after losing their previous two matches.
#3 Nitesh Kumar
Defender, UP Yoddha
Nitesh Kumar's defensive contributions have been overshadowed by teammate Sumit this season, but during their home leg, it was Nitesh who starred for the team. The UP captain managed 20 tackle points across four matches, including two High 5s. Nitesh has now moved into fourth on the list of tackle points, just two behind Sumit's 72.
#2 Shrikant Jadhav
Raider, UP Yoddha
Encouragingly for UP, several raiders contributed to the team's success at home, including Monu Goyat and Rishank Devadiga. However, it's Shrikant Jadhav who continues to be their best, most consistent raider. Jadhav scored nine, eight and nine points in three of the four matches he played in Noida, and will be key to the team's fortunes in the playoffs.
#1 Fazel Atrachali
Defender, U Mumba
Aside from Abhishek's efforts in raiding, the other big piece of the puzzle for Mumba has been their captain and main defender Atrachali. Atrachali, twice a PKL winner and a four-time finalist, managed two High 5s in the team's two matches in Noida. In the win over Haryana, his eight tackle points proved the difference between the two teams. Against Delhi, his tackles helped Mumba come back to tie the match. Atrachali is now top of the list of successful tackles and tackle points for this season.