In hindsight, this season might seem predictable. There have been many matches in which that seemed absolutely defeated went on to draw or even win with surges in the final seconds in a number of cases.
U Mumba, a crew that has been “the worlds largest” consistent since the inaugural publications, get off to start so sluggish that even a late season surge could not get them to the playoff spots. Telugu Titans are another side that started as favourites and had one their most wretched seasons ever.
Throughout the primordial churn that was different groups stage, two names remained on top. Gujarat Fortune grants, making such a debut this season in the tournament, played to their strengths from the word proceed.
That strength was the two Iranian corners Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani. Together, the duo anchored a virtually insurmountable defensive wall for any team. The total tackle phases that they collected throughout the season is second to Puneri Paltan. In reality, Pune can be rated as the only squad whose defence could be compared to that of Gujarat.
And the reason why the Puneri Paltan is not in the final is that they faced Patna Pirates in the third eliminator. Patna has been a good side but they would have probably gratified the same fate as U Mumba or Haryana Steelers had it not been for their chieftain Pardeep Narwhal.
He scored 19 levels against Puneri Paltan, decimating one of the staunchest defences in the league single-handedly. Before that he scored 32 phases on his own against Haryana Steelers, who themselves controlled simply 30 as a team in the match. That has been the narrative for the most of the season, Patna would defend with whatever they have and Narwhal would run through the opponent like a warm knife through butter.
It might of little consolation that Patna is yet to win against Gujarat in the two matches they have played in so far. The latter is the defending champs while Gujarat is the brand-new kids on the block, stonewalling all their opponents to reach the final. As has been the case in most matches this season, predicting the winner is a futile exercise.