League leaders Patna Pirates and second-placed Dabang Delhi K.C. will continue their battle for the top spot when they take on their respective opponents in key clashes in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 at the Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, here on Monday. The Pirates take on Telugu Titans on Sunday while Dabang Delhi meet U.P. Yoddha in the night’s second match.
Patna Pirates will lock horns with bottom-placed Telugu Titans. The first clash of the night’s tripleheader will be between two teams that have endured contrasting campaigns. Patna have the most-balanced squad with a great attack and defence while the injury-plagued Titans have struggled in both these departments.
Telugu Titans will look back at the season with great disappointment. On paper, they had a quality team with the likes of Siddharth Desai, Rohit Kumar, Sandeep Kandola and Ruturaj Koravi.
But Siddharth Desai’s long-term injury really affected the balance of the side while captain Rohit Kumar also found it difficult to get going. The Titans are officially out of the playoff race, but the team will be hoping to end the season on a positive note. The likes of Ankit Beniwal, Rajnish and Adarsh have shown there is enough next-generation talent in the squad to rebuild for the upcoming season.
Patna Pirates have a great opportunity to consolidate their top place with a win against the Titans. But coach Ram Mehar Singh might see this as an opportunity to give game-time to a few of his substitutes.
Guman Singh’s emergence as a top raider has displaced Monu Goyat to the bench in the last few outings. Goyat and all-rounder Monu might be in the reckoning for a starting place.
The Pirates will be wary of making too many changes to a well-oiled unit, however. Momentum is the key to success in kabaddi and they will want to maintain their winning run till the end of the season. Surprisingly, when the teams met earlier in the season, the Pirates managed only a 1-point win.
The second match of the night will feature Dabang Delhi K.C and U.P. Yoddha. Delhi can almost guarantee a Top-2 finish with a victory while the in-form U.P. Yoddha will almost guarantee a playoff spot with a win. That will make the contest between the two neighbours extremely intense.
Pardeep Narwal’s return to good form will make Yoddha a potent attacking unit with Surender Gill and Shrikant Jadhav for support. Delhi’s experienced defence will have to play a careful game to ensure the U.P. attack does not milk them. Their star raider Naveen Kumar has regained much-needed stability on the mat after a knee injury forced him out mid-season.
The last match of the night will see Gujarat Giants take on Puneri Paltan. A win will help Pune move into the Top 6 and improve their chances of a spot in the playoffs.
Coach Anup Kumar will rely on his raider duo of Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat once again to secure the points. Nitin Tomar’s emergence as a reliable all-rounder will add more depth to the cover defence.