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PKL 8: Focus on Pirates, Delhi and Warriors on triple-header Sunday

Patna will battle Bengal Warriors in the first match of the day and are a team in form, with both their defence and attack finding the perfect rhythm in the last few matches

Pro Kabaddi League | PKL 2021 | Kabaddi

IANS  |  Bengaluru 

U Mumba vs Telugu Titans (Photo: Twitter)
Photo: Twitter

The spotlight will be on three-time champions Patna Pirates, table toppers Dabang Delhi and defending champions Bengal Warriors on the final day of Rivalry Week in the League Season 8 here on Sunday.

Patna will battle Bengal Warriors in the first match of the day and are a team in form, with both their defence and attack finding the perfect rhythm in the last few matches. Defending champions Bengal have struggled to match the pre-season expectations with raider Maninder Singh often having to carry the burden of the entire weight on his shoulders.

The second match of the night will see Bengaluru Bulls take on Gujarat Giants. Bengaluru have looked better in their last two matches with Saurabh Nandal and Aman stepping up in defence. But in Gujarat, they face a team in decent form.

Pardeep Kumar and Ajay Kumar have added more sharpness to the Giants raiding unit despite a forgettable loss against Patna Pirates in their latest outing. The experienced cover combination of Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar will soon need to find that confidence that once made them the league's best duo.

The final match on Sunday will feature Dabang Delhi K.C. and U.P Yoddha. The Delhi team fought bravely to earn a tie against the Bulls in their previous outing and will fancy their chances against an out-of-form U.P. team.

The Bengal Warriors do not have the necessary raid power to attack Patna's star-packed defence, but they will have to do it anyway to stand a chance of winning the encounter. Bengal are in a stage where they can't afford to lose more points in their bid to defend the PKL title.

Mohammad Nabibakhsh and Sukesh Hegde should be told to attack right from the first whistle and not play for the Do-or-Die situations. Captain Maninder Singh, meanwhile, should anchor the match by trying to stay on the mat longer. His team has often forced him into Do-or-Die situations.

Patna's Mohammadreza Shadloui has eight points in their outing against Gujarat which should instill fear in the minds of the Bengal raiders. However, the Pirates' defence certainly has flaws. They don't like the patient game and are prone to advanced tackling. Bengal raiders will need to overcome them for the first 10 minutes of the match, not giving them easy points and then hoping the defence implodes.

Bengal will have to make some changes in the defence as well with cover defender Vishal Mane really struggling against fast raiders. Patna raiders Sachin and Guman Singh are pacy, while both Monu Goyat and Prashanth Rai have an array of skills acquired from years of experience.

Giants meet the Bulls

Bengaluru Bulls and Gujarat Giants may be separated by a lot of teams on the points table but there will be no favourites when the teams clash'on Sunday. The PKL's Season 8 has been incredibly competitive which means even the bottom-placed teams have a possibility of making it to the playoffs.

Gujarat Giants have picked up some momentum in the last few matches with their raiders Ajay Kumar and Pardeep Kumar shining. Against Patna, they got exposed, but Gujarat should take it on the chin and believe in their team.

Coach Manpreet Singh will need to start both of them again along with Rakesh S and go all guns blazing against a Bulls side still struggling with defensive solidity. Bengaluru captain Pawan Sehrawat will also need to plan his raids more carefully and use Bharat more efficiently. Pawan has been too eager to do all the raids thereby affecting the balance of the team.

Focus on Naveen

Delhi will need a collective effort to ensure they remain on top of the points table at the end of the league stages. They have shown a tendency to sit back and let Naveen Kumar do all the scoring which has backfired ever since his injury.

They have an efficient backup plan -- trust Vijay and Sandeep Narwal to be the all-rounders. Both have been brilliant for Dabang in the recent outings which will also give room to fit in another raider -- Ashu Malik or Neeraj Narwal. Their own seasoned defenders wi'l need to watch out for U.P's Surender Gill.

The raider has slightly dipped in form but still has been the team's standout performer. Yoddha will need a victory to ensure they stay in contention for a playoff spot after four losses in their last four matches.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Sat, February 05 2022. 19:05 IST