Bengaluru: Three-time champions Patna Pirates will lock horns with Dabang Delhi K.C on Tuesday (January 18) in vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 8. The Pirates beat Bengaluru Bulls comprehensively in the previous match and will look to continue their good form against struggling Delhi. Naveen Kumar’s battles with injuries have made the Dabang team blunt in the attack which the Pirates defenders will aim to exploit.
The second match of the night will feature U Mumba and Gujarat Giants. Both teams boast an array of experienced defenders, but it is their raiders who have won them matches in Season 8. U Mumba’s Abhishek Singh looked good against Bengal Warriors while Rakesh S. has been the unsung hero for the Giants. The matches will be held at the Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, Bengaluru.
Pirates defence the key
The Pirates defence was nearly flawless against the Bulls. They kept Pawan Sehrawat off the mat for most of the match with corners Mohammadreza Shadloui and Sunil discovering their best form. They will once again need to be at the top of their game against Delhi’s raiding duo of Naveen Kumar and Vijay. It is not sure if Naveen will recover from his knee injury which means Vijay will be Delhi’s go-to raider. He picked up a Super 10 in their previous outing but if Patna can stop him in the initial minutes they will stand a good chance of winning the match.
Patna’s Guman Singh was a surprise selection ahead of experienced Monu Goyat but he was arguably the standout raider in the team’s latest win. Patna’s squad depth means Delhi will have a difficult time planning their defence. Sachin faded in the latter stages of the match which might prompt coach Ram Mehar Singh to use him as a revolving substitute in the upcoming match.
Captain Prashanth Kumar Rai’s presence on the mat is vital for the team’s success and will therefore take the role of the third raider. Delhi will face a difficult opponent in Patna and their chances of a win will hinge on their experienced defensive line. The likes of Jeeva Kumar and Manjit Chhillar will need to have an errorless night.
Rakesh key for Giants
Gujarat Giants might boast an experienced defensive line-up, but it is their raider Rakesh S. who has won them valuable points in Season 8. He has been one of the emerging talents of the tournament and is slowly taking over the title of “Dubki king”.
But in Fazel Atrachali and Rinku he will face an experienced corner duo. Both haven’t shown their full potential in the tournament but will relish a challenge against Gujarat. If they can stop Rakesh, Gujarat can be beaten as their secondary raiders have struggled.
The return of Ajith Kumar will be a big relief for coach Rajaguru Subramanian. Mumbai struggled in the two games he was absent while his return has also taken some weight off Abhishek Singh’s shoulders. Both teams will need to win the match to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.