PKL 8: U Mumba, Pink Panthers to play for playoff spot in key clash

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Former champions U Mumba will lock horns with Jaipur Pink Panthers on Tuesday in Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 8 with the intention of securing a spot in the playoffs. In a repeat of the Season 1 final, the two teams will be facing each other with both, not in the top six of the points table which will make for a fascinating encounter.

In the other matches of the triple-header night, Patna Pirates take on Bengaluru Bulls while Puneri Paltan will meet Tamil Thalaivas in the final clash of the night.

Jaipur’s hopes will once again hinge around their star raider Arjun Deshwal. He was in incredible form despite Jaipur’s loss against Bengaluru Bulls. The defensive corner combination of Sandeep Dhull and Sahul Kumar will also need a perfect night to stop the U Mumba raiders. In Ajith Kumar and Abhishek Singh, U Mumba have two clever raiders with different skillsets. If allowed to settle, they will wreak havoc in the Jaipur defence.

At the other end, Fazel Atrachali must ensure his defenders are mentally prepared for the challenge. His own personal battle, with the right raider Arjun Deshwal, could decide the outcome of the match.

Rahul Sethpal and Rinku will also need to be on their toes to ensure Deepak Hooda has a quiet game for the Panthers. Haryana Steelers’ Vikash Kandola exposed the biggest weakness in Mumbai’s defence – speed. The raider’s quick feet on the mat caused a lot of confusion in the usually well-organised Mumbai defence. Fazel Atrachali is not known to back down from a challenge; however; and will approach the match with a fully prepared plan for the Jaipur raiders.

In the second match of the night, Bengaluru Bulls, who clinched an important win against Jaipur in their previous outing, will be hoping for another positive result to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Bharat outperformed Pawan Sehrawat for the Bulls against Jaipur which should give coach Randhir Sehrawat the confidence to go in with a two-raider strategy.

That will allow him to start G.B. More in the team and add more steel to the defence. Patna have been nearly flawless in their recent outings but with the Playoffs so close, they might consider giving some of their players’ much-needed rest. It will also be an opportunity to give more confidence to their bench.

In the final match of the night, Puneri Paltan will be on a high against Tamil Thalaivas. The Pune team, under coach Anup Kumar, have seen a remarkable change in fortunes in the second half of the season.

Young raiders Mohit Goyat and Aslam Inamdar have catapulted them to a possible place in the playoffs. The work is still not done, and they will need to beat a strong Thalaivas team to make it to the eliminators.

Thalaivas will hope their defensive combination of Sagar and Surjeet Singh can conjure up some early-season form to stop the young raiders of Pune. Even the Tamil team stands with an outside chance of making it to the playoffs.

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