In-form Haryana Steelers will battle Gujarat Giants on Tuesday (25 January) in vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 8. The Steelers have looked a well-rounded unit in the past few games with secondary raiders Vinay and Rohit Gulia supporting the effervescent Vikash Kandola. Coach Manpreet Singh’s Gujarat Giants are yet to stamp their authority this season despite occasional bouts of promise. They will see the duel against the Steelers as an opportunity to kick-start their charge for a playoff spot.
The second match of the night will see Telugu Titans lock horns with Patna Pirates. The Titans have just 1 win in the entire season and will be facing a formidable unit in three-time champions Patna Pirates. Both the matches will be held at the Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, Bengaluru.
Haryana’s team effort
Haryana might not have a superstar like Naveen Kumar or Pawan Sehrawat but they certainly have the squad depth to compensate for that. Captain Vikash Kandola is their lead raider but they have the impressive trio of Meetu, Vinay and Rohit Gulia who can contribute with points when called upon. Even Ashish has chipped in with valuable contributions when required. Similarly in defence, the unity of Jaideep, Mohit and Surender Nada has been the key to stability.
The Giants will need to take a lesson from Haryana’s success and bring more cohesion into the team. Barring Rakesh S, no other raider has consistently impressed in their outings, which should force the management into making changes. A starting role for Ajay Kumar or Pardeep Kumar might freshen the attack and make the raiding unit unpredictable. Haryana coach Rakesh Kumar usually encourages an aggressive approach from his defenders and Gujarat will need to upset their balance by shuffling left and right raiders in the air attack. Thankfully for the Giants, their defence is slowly starting to find form. Both captain Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal have looked in good shape despite the absence of their star corners Girish Ernak and Ravinder Pahal.
Titans missing experience
It is hard to fault the Titans for their poor season considering all the injuries the team has suffered. Experienced Siddharth Desai and Rohit Kumar have been big losses while young stars like Rajnish have also missed matches due to fatigue. They are at the bottom of the points table and will be playing the remainder of the season for pride.
This can actually work in favour of the Titans who have nothing to lose. Youngsters such as Rajnish, Adarsh T, and Ankit Beniwal should use this as a chance to showcase their talent on the grandest stage. And there will be no bigger opportunity than the match against three-time champions Patna Pirates. The men in green have been rock solid in their defence in Season 8. While the corners Mohammadreza Shadloui and Sunil have won the plaudits, their covers Sajin C and Neeraj Kumar have been equally effective.
Patna go into the match after a week’s rest. Coach Ram Mehar Singh’s rejuvenated team will most likely have the services of Monu Goyat again who was out injured in their previous outings. Patna will be the favourites to win but Kabaddi is a game known for its constant surprises.
Tune In details (25/01/2022)
7:30 PM: Haryana Steelers vs Gujarat Giants
8:30 PM: Telugu Titans vs Patna Pirates
All matches can be watched on Star Sports Network and Disney+Hotstar