Match Day 18 Preview and Prediction

The City of Pune gearing up to host the second leg of the PKL 9

The Pro Kabaddi League Season 9 caravan moves out of Bengaluru to arrive at Pune for its second leg of the league stage. Pune’s Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex will be hosting Matchday 18 on Friday from 7:30 PM onwards.  

The triple-threat Match Day will commence with Tamil Thalaivas taking on the inaugural champions Jaipur Pink Panthers and will be followed by an action-packed saga between Puneri Paltan and Haryana Steelers. Then the historic rivalry of UP Yoddhas and Patna Pirates will take place in the final fixture of the opening day of the Pune leg on Friday. 

Match 42: Tamil Thalaivas vs Jaipur Pink Panthers 

Jaipur’s triumphant run of five games was trampled down by the Puneri Paltan who handed them the second defeat of the season in the previous fixture. The aggressive approach of the Pink Panthers was thoroughly crushed by the young assassin Aslam Inamdar and the defense department of the Paltan. The Thalaivas also suffered a sore outcome in their most recent appearance which marked their consecutive defeat by the margin of 17 points.  

The Chennai-based franchise has faced the inaugural champions six times at the Pro Kabaddi stage to date and its head-to-head count currently belongs to Men in Pink. Jaipur has registered three wins over the Thalaivas while their counterparts could manage to emerge victorious only on a single occasion. Both of the encounters between them in the previous season ended on a neutral scoreline which never happened before the PKL 8. 

After a poor run in the initial stages of this season, J Udayakumara has decided to step down from his role of head coach citing personal reasons. He will be replaced by the  Dronacharya Awardee gaffer Ashan Kumar who is likely to take the charge from this fixture onwards. We may see a few major changes in the Thalaivas’ strategy, especially the return of Ajinkya Pawar in the Starting Seven which is highly expected. 

The attacking unit of Jaipur features two raiders, Showman Rahul Chaudhari and V Ajith Kumar who have played together for the Chennai-based outfit in Season 7. The local Tamizhan lad Ajith has a great record against his home franchise and fetched 22 raid points from two encounters of the last season while donning the U Mumba colours. The Iranian left-cover defender Reza Mirbagheri made a substitute appearance against Pune and is set to replace Abhishek KS in the Starting Seven.

As per the current form and the points table stance, Jaipur is the favourite to emerge victorious from this contest while the Thalaivas may find it quite hard to pull off another upset. 

Predicted Starting Seven

Tamil Thalaivas: Narender Kandola, Ajinkya Pawar, Himanshu Yadav; M Abhishek, Mohit Jakhar; Sahil Gulia, Sagar Rathee (C)

Jaipur Pink Panthers: Arjun Deshwal, Rahul Chaudhari, Ajith Kumar; Reza Mirbagheri, Sunil Kumar (C); Ankush Rathee, Sahul Kumar 

Match 43: Haryana Steelers vs Puneri Paltan 

Aslam Inamdar to don the Paltan colours in front of home fans for the first time!

Aslam Inamdar to don the Paltan colours in front of home fans for the first time! 

Coach Manpreet Singh and his Dhakad Boys finally got back to the winning track with a 19-point triumph over the star-studded Telugu Titans. It was Haryana’s third victory of the PKL 9 campaign and the first one from five fixtures. Pune completed a hat-trick of close wins and finally showcased their power after putting an end to the inaugural champions JPP’s five-match winning streak this Tuesday. 

The head-to-head record of this crushing rivalry between two Kabaddi-devoted cities currently stands on a 6-4 scoreline in the favour of the Pune-based franchise. Haryana took the advantage of the Orange Stallions who were still unsettled in their face-off of Season 8 and thumped them on the final scoreline of 37-30. However, the Paltan quickly avenged their earlier defeat at the hands of the Steelers and gave it back to them with a winning margin of 18 points. 

The Railways all-rounder Nitin Rawal has excelled in the leadership role individually scoring 4 tackle points and also leading them to a crucial victory. The Iranian starlet Amirhossein Bastami is steadily cementing his place in the Haryana lineup forging the earlier failure. The raiding trio of Meetu-Manjeet-Prapanjan played a pivotal role in their win over Telugu, especially Meetu Sharma who was the highest scorer of the match scalping 13 raid points. 

The Starting Seven of Puneri Paltan seems set except for the cover-defense department which still stands out as their only weakness. Both of the cover defenders Sanket Sawant and Rakesh Ram remained pointless against Jaipur along with a combined tally of six unsuccessful tackles. Meanwhile, Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat are also not getting the required offensive support from the star all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh. 

Predicted Starting Seven

Haryana Steelers: Manjeet Dahiya, Meetu Sharma, K Prapanjan; Jaideep Dahiya, Mohit Nandal; Nitin Rawal (C), Amirhossein Bastami 

Puneri Paltan: Aslam Inamdar, Mohit Goyat, Mohammad Nabibakhsh; Sanket Sawant, Balasaheb Jadhav; Fazel Atrachali (C), Sombir Gulia  

Match 44: Patna Pirates vs UP Yoddhas

Pardeep Narwal to summon his former club once again!

Pardeep Narwal to summon his former club once again!   

The Yoddhas from the land of Uttar Pradesh has miserably failed to showcase their consistency which was known as their strongest point. Captain Nitesh Kumar and his battalion staged a bounce-back against Tamil Thalaivas after their high-scoring upset in front of Gujarat Giants on Super Sunday. It seems as if the distraught Pirates Army has finally got back to their strength as the triumph over the table-toppers Delhi was followed by a 31-31 settlement with Bengaluru Bulls. 

Patna was the sole representative of their region in PKL until the UP Yoddhas franchise was formed in the year 2017. Just like every other field, the two neighbouring states also share a raging rivalry to become Kabaddi supremo of the Northern region. The three-time champions Pirates hold a commanding position in this rivalry after eliminating their arch-rivals from the Semi-final stages of the previous season which credited them a narrow one-match lead. 

The youngster Manish Dhull will continue donning the left-cover position after having a stellar individual outcome against the Bulls scoring 4 tackle points including a solitary Super Tackle. Another budding right-corner defender Naveen Sharma also had an impressive cameo attempting a successful Super Tackle. The Prince of Iran, Mohammadreza Shadloui has regained his magic touch and is ready to haunt the UP invaders. 

The rocky raider Rathan Gowda stunned everyone in the final minutes with an incredible Super Raid which may earn him a place in the Starting Seven. Despite the huge hype around him, the Chhattisgarh lad Durgesh Netam did not live up to expectations and is likely to be axed. Surprisingly, it was the left-corner defender Sumit Sangwan who emerged as the top-scorer scalping seven tackle points. 

It will be a neck-to-neck contest between these two arch-rivals and will be interesting to see whether Patna will continue their unbeaten run or UP will be able to register their maiden consecutive win. 

Predicted Starting Seven 

Patna Pirates: Sachin Tanwar, Rohit Gulia, Monu Sandhu; Manish Dhull, Neeraj Kumar (C); Mohammadreza Shadloui, Sunil Narwal 

UP Yoddha: Pardeep Narwal, Surender Gill, Rathan Gowda; Gurdeep, Ashu Singh; Sumit Sangwan, Nitesh Kumar (C)