Key Battle: Naveen Kumar’s clash with Rinku Narwal could determine fate of the final

Bengal Warriors’ most successful defender in the Semi-final faces a player he has tackles just once in Season 7.

Dabang Delhi K.C.’s talisman has had the better of Rinku Narwal throughout the season and will look to use that to his advantage.

The pressure is bound to be on at the EKA Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad on Saturday as Bengal Warriors and Dabang Delhi K.C., both, will be vying for their maiden vivo Pro Kabaddi title. While Rinku Narwal was Bengal Warriors’ highest scoring defender in Semi-final 2, it was Naveen Kumar who led Dabang Delhi K.C.’s raiders in Semi-final 1. Thus, it is only logical that the battle between these two could have a huge impact on Saturday’s final. Though the contest largely favour’s the Dabang Delhi K.C. raider, Rinku will be eager to prove that past records mean little as compared to current form.

Head-to-head: Naveen Kumar 8 – 4 Rinku Narwal

Naveen Kumar

Raid Points: 13

Raid Strike Rate: 108.33

Average Raid Points: 3.25

Rinku Narwal

Tackle Points: 4

Tackle Strike Rate: 33.33

Average Tackle Points: 1

Bengal Warriors’ Corner duo of Baldev Singh and Rinku Narwal have had a lot to say in their vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7 victories. However, it was Rinku who really shone through in defence in the Semi-final, scoring 4 of the team’s 10 tackle points in just 5 tackle attempts. Even more impressive was that he allowed the U Mumba raiders to score against him only twice, even though their team finished with 23 raid points.

However, the Bengal Warriors Corner has been found wanting against Naveen Kumar in the past as the raider has scored 13 points against him at strike rate of more than 100. What could be even more worrying for Bengal Warriors is that Rinku’s already less than impressive 4 – 8 overall record against Naveen becomes much worse in Season 7 as the raider has managed six successful raids while being tackled just once when he has come up against Rinku this season. Here is how Naveen has scored his points against Rinku.

Escape – 10

Front Kick – 1

Back Kick – 1

Bonus point – 1

Naveen’s excellent use of his lower body, combined with his alertness of the movement of the defenders has caused all sorts of problems for Rinku Narwal as seen in the statistics above. By contrast, Rinku’s four points have been equally spread between an Ankle Hold, Thigh Hold, Dash and Block, with the Block accounting for the sole Season 7 tackle point. It could then work out in Rinku’s best interest to avoid the raider’s legs when he comes in for a touch point and go, instead, for his upper body when he runs in from the other end.

While Naveen holds the edge in their head-to-head battle, Rinku’s confidence will be bouyed by the fact that he comes into this contest with 9 tackle points in his team’s previous two encounters; both of which have resulted in the team’s victory. Naveen, meanwhile, had an uncharacteristic five unsuccessful raids in the Semi-final, which included a raid in which he was timed out and where he conceded a technical Super Tackle. If Rinku is able to keep Naveen from scoring his 21st consecutive Super 10 of the season, he could well win the match for his side.