PKL 8: Top raiders face-off as Bengaluru Bulls meet Dabang Delhi

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Top raiders Naveen Kumar and Pawan Sehrawat will face off when Dabang Delhi K.C. take on Bengaluru Bulls in a crucial match of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 here on Wednesday.

Haryana Steelers meet U.P. Yoddha in another encounter with the Steelers going into the match after a morale-depleting 19-point loss against Tamil Thalaivas. U.P. Yoddha are in the ascendency after their defence finally clicked against Bengaluru Bulls. They will be looking to repeat the same magic against Haryana’s tired-looking raiding trio.

But all eyes will be on the Bulls versus Danang Delhi clash with the focus on the two top raiders — Naveen Kumar and Pawan Sehrawat. Both Dabang Delhi and Bengaluru Bulls suffered defeats in their previous encounters which should lead a feisty battle.

Bengaluru Bulls and Dabang Delhi K.C. have been amongst the early pace-setters but both suffered shocking losses in their previous outings. Sandeep Dhull and Sahul Kumar teamed up for Jaipur to stop Naveen Kumar while the Yoddha defence didn’t allow an opportunity to Bulls’ Pawan Sehrawat.

The match will most likely be decided on how much time both these raiders spend on the mat. Both defences have been error-prone all season with Delhi’s seasoned stars looking particularly vulnerable.

Despite the comparisons, Naveen Kumar and Pawan Sehrawat are massively different raiders. Naveen picks a lot of solitary points, relying on his speed, while Pawan Sehrawat has an eye for spectacular multi-point raids. In all the Bulls’ victories, Pawan has had a 5-10 minute period where he unleashes his best. Naveen, meanwhile, will pick points throughout the match.

In the last match, Naveen failed to get a Super 10 for the first time this season and it led to the end of Delhi’s unbeaten streak. The lack of a secondary raider will therefore be a worry for the Season 7 finalists. In Bharat and Chandran Ranjit, the Bulls have a better balanced raiding unit, that can revive Pawan Sehrawat quickly.

Yoddha defence warmed up

U.P. Yoddha’s defence made it a night to remember in their previous outing against the Bulls. They set a new PKL record of 22 Tackle Points and will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing the Haryana raiders, who struggled against Tamil Thalaivas.

Meetu looked off-colour while Vikash Kandola could barely make a difference as Thalaivas thrashed coach Rakesh Kumar’s Haryana team.

In Surender Gill and Shrikant Jadhav, Yoddha have smart raiders who can pick up valuable points. Pardeep Narwal has also slowly started regaining much-needed confidence on the mat.

But Yoddha’s strength is their defensive corner duo of Nitesh Kumar and Sumit. They will be quick to pounce on any hesitancy from Haryana’s raiders. For the Steelers to stay in the match, their own corner duo of Surender Nada and Jaideep will need to iron out the mistakes.

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