Match Day 51 Preview and Prediction
After the qualification and elimination of four sides, the eight franchises are going to battle out each other for the remaining four playoff tickets in the upcoming Pro Kabaddi matchdays. An action-packed double-header saga of Matchday 51 will be played at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium of Hyderabad on Monday from 7:30 PM onwards.
Puneri Paltan will be in action against the familiar foes Patna Pirates in the opening game aiming to reclaim their throne of table-toppers. Then the battlefield will be occupied by the inaugural champions Jaipur Pink Panthers and Haryana Steelers in the second final fixture of the night.
Match 120: Puneri Paltan vs Patna Pirates
The three-time champions suffered their third consecutive defeat after losing against the eleventh-placed Gujarat side clash by six points on Friday. The Giants trumped the Bihar-based franchise to lower the difference between the two arch-rivals in the points table. Meanwhile, the triumph chariot of the former table-toppers Puneri Paltan was also crashed down by the Ahmedabad-based outfit after winning seven consecutive fixtures.
The two familiar foes commenced their PKL 9 journey by facing each other in the opening fixture of the campaign which resulted in a 34-34 tie settlement. Despite the thrilling final scoreline, the encounter still lacked star power due to the absence of the two Iranian left-corner defenders Fazel Atrachali for Puneri Paltan and Mohammadreza Shadloui for Patna Pirates.
Sachin Tanwar (8 raid points) and Mohit Goyat (8 total points) were the highest scorers of their respective sides while the supporting raiders Rohit Gulia and Aslam Inamdar also played a pivotal role on the battlefield.
The Paltan gaffer BC Ramesh fielded an All-Maharashtrian attack against Gujarat consisting of Aslam, Akash and Pankaj who made a combined contribution of 20 raid points. The Emerging Player of Season 8, Mohit Goyat is likely to return to the Starting Seven after taking complete rest from their previous fixture.
Meanwhile, Aslam Inamdar was also subbed off from the court in the 35th minute struggling with a minor injury and may not feature in the Pune roster preparing for the upcoming clash.
The young right-corner defender Naveen Sharma bagged two tackle points from his breakthrough game however, the inflated unsuccessful tackle rate hugely downplayed his contribution.
Captain Neeraj Kumar regained his lost form after scalping four tackle points consisting of a solitary Super Tackle against the disciples of his former boss. The only change in the Patna lineup which we can expect is Manish Dhull replacing off-color Sajin Chandrasekar in the left-cover position.
Despite having a great record against the Maharashtrian outfit, the winning odds are still against the PKL’s most decorated franchise due to their skiddy recent form. It is going to be an intriguing clash between the Patna defensive department and an in-form offensive unit of Pune and the winner of this battle can extend their claim on all match points.
Predicted Starting Seven
Puneri Paltan: Mohit Goyat, Pankaj Mohite, Akash Shinde; Sanket Sawant, Abinesh Nadarajan; Fazel Atrachali (C), Sombir Gulia
Patna Pirates: Sachin Tanwar, Rohit Gulia, Monu Sandhu; Manish Dhull, Neeraj Kumar (C); Mohammadreza Shadloui, Naveen Sharma
Match 121: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Haryana Steelers
The inaugural Pro Kabaddi champions Jaipur Pink Panthers have climbed back right at the top of PKL standings after thrashing the rivals Bengaluru Bulls. The Steelers have recently completed the hat-trick of triumphs and are currently putting up a strong contention for the playoffs qualification ticket. The three sides who suffered loss at the hands of Haryana were Bengal Warriors, U Mumba and Patna Pirates who all are fighting for the knockout race.
When the last time these two franchises squared off at the stage of PKL 9, the Pink Panthers claimed the five match points after emerging victorious in the high-scoring 44-31 saga. The Services sensation Arjun Deshwal fetched 14 raid points while the skipper Sunil Kumar’s remarkable heroics of 8 tackle points also played a pivotal role in the triumph.
The Dhakad Boys had a forgettable outing from that night as the only Steeler who could manage to score more than 3 points was the assailant Meetu Sharma with 16 raid points.
Manpreet Singh’s masterstroke of playing Monu Hooda ahead of the Iranian Amirhossein Bastami on the right corner finally paid off as the youngster registered his maiden High 5 at an incredible strike rate of 100%.
Another Haryana defender who achieved his individual High 5 against Bengal was the left-cover defender Jaideep Dahiya. After a thumping victory over the Warriors, the Steelers management may not consider any changes in the Starting Seven to sustain further the momentum.
The Jaipur gaffer Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan is likely to name an unchanged Starting Seven with the ultimate aim of not losing up his position at the top. Players like Reza Mirbagheri and Sahul Kumar who underperformed throughout the season have also gained their peak right before the commencement of the playoffs round. Rahul Chaudhari seems to be the only weak link in the Pink Panthers unit as the legendary has failed to live up to his standards.
It is quiet to predict the winner of this intense contest between the two in-form franchises who are running riots in the Hyderabad leg. Both of them are accommodated with the services of a star-studded offensive unit hence it will all come down to the defensive department where the better-performing side can surely claim the five match points.
Predicted Starting Seven
Jaipur Pink Panthers: Arjun Deshwal, Rahul Chaudhari, Ajith Kumar; Reza Mirbagheri, Sunil Kumar (C); Ankush Rathee, Sahul Kumar
Haryana Steelers: Manjeet Dahiya, Meetu Sharma, Rakesh Narwal; Jaideep Dahiya, Mohit Nandal; Nitin Rawal (C), Monu Hooda