Matchday 36 Preview and Prediction

Can Fazel and co. pull off a win over Haryana Steelers?

Matchday 36 of PKL 9 features a triple header with the top two clubs in the points table – Bengaluru Bulls and Puneri Paltan – in action. The first encounter of the day involves Puneri Paltan taking on Haryana Steelers. Bengal Warriors and Telugu Titans lock horns with each other in the second match of the day with Gujarat Giants and Bengaluru Bulls closing out the evening at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday. 

Puneri Paltan occupies the second spot with 49 points from 14 matches as only one point separates them from third-placed Jaipur Pink Panthers. Moreover, they are only two points behind Bengaluru Bulls, who have 51 points to their name. With the top two teams qualifying directly for the semi-finals, there exists no reason for the three clubs to drop their guard.

Bengal Warriors are seventh in the table with 37 points from 13 games while Haryana Steelers are eighth with 36 points from 14 matches. Only eight points separate the teams positioned from fourth to tenth place. Hence, a slight blip would allow the other teams to gain momentum and close out the other three playoff spots. 

Gujarat Giants and Telugu Titans lie rock bottom on the points table – eleventh and twelfth among all the teams. While the Giants have five wins to their name, the Titans have only one. Can the clubs turn things around to close out the season on a high and trouble the ambitions of their rivals? Let’s find out.

Match 84: Puneri Paltan vs Haryana Steelers 

Puneri Paltan’s loss against U Mumba on Friday was enough to dethrone them from the summit position. However, they rebounded strongly with a 16-point win over Bengal Warriors. 

Although not a single of their raiders was able to complete their Super 10, the trio of Akash Shinde, Mohit Goyat, and Aslam Inamdar notched 24 raid points among themselves. The cohesiveness was well displayed in the defensive unit, with their defenders notching 12 tackle points and inflicting three All-Outs on the opposition. 

Haryana Steelers ended their four-match winless streak by beating Gujarat Giants 33-32 in their previous encounter. Manjeet Dahiya amassed 14 raid points in that contest but the other raiders combined to collect only six points in that game. 

The Paltans have momentum on their side while Haryana has struggled against top teams this season. The previous contest between the two sides ended in a draw but Akash Shinde and Aslam Inamdar were yet to pick up momentum then. Hence, we predict Pune to win the match. 

Predicted Starting Seven

Puneri Paltan: Akash Shinde, Aslam Inamdar, Mohit Goyat, Fazel Atrachali (C), Sombir, Abhinesh Nadarajan, Gaurav Khatri 

Haryana Steelers: Manjeet Dahiya, Meetu Mhahender, Jaideep, Joginder Singh Narwal (C), Mohit, Nitin Rawal, Amirhossein Bastami 

Match 85: Bengal Warriors vs Telugu Titans  

Bengal Warriors suffered a crushing defeat against Puneri Paltans in their previous match with Maninder Singh being the only standout performer. The likes of Deepak Niwas Hooda and Shrikant Jadhav are yet to find form and once Maninder gets tackled, Bengal has a hard time reviving him. 

However, their problems aren’t as cumbersome as Telugu Titans who are winless for over a month. Their 11-point loss against Bengaluru Bulls encapsulated their raiding and defensive frailties. 

Siddharth Desai and Surjeet Singh are the only two players able to perform this season with the rest of the players far behind in terms of performance. Although both teams don’t have the form on their side, we predict Bengal Warriors to win the tie owing to their slightly better defense.  

Predicted Starting Seven

Bengal Warriors: Maninder Singh (C), Shrikant Jadhav, Shubham Shinde, Vaibhav Garje, Balaji D, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Girish Ernak 

Telugu Titans: Vinay Virender, Ankit, Surjeet Singh, Vishal Bhardwaj, Mohsen Maghsoudloujafari, Siddharth Sirish Desai (C), Parvesh Bhainswal 

Match 86: Gujarat Giants vs Bengaluru Bulls 

Gujarat Giants went toe-to-toe against Haryana Steelers but fell behind by one point against Haryana Steelers in their last match. Chandran Ranjit and Rakesh Sungroya were good against the rival defenders while Rinku Narwal responded with nice tackles. 

Bengaluru Bulls rely on Bharat and Neeraj Narwal to pick up raid points and in their previous match, both of them responded with a Super 10 to their name. Aman’s High Five further put pressure on the opposition and he is expected to inflict the same damage on the opposition with his thigh holds. 

Haryana Steelers lack in terms of individual brilliance against Bengaluru Bulls and that may turn out to be the deciding factor in the match. Hence, we predict the Bulls to come out on top. 

Predicted Starting Seven

Gujarat Giants: Chandran Ranjit (C), Rakesh Sungroya, Rinku Narwal, Mahendra Girish Rajput, Kapil, Arkam Shaikh, Manuj 

Bengaluru Bulls: Bharat, Neeraj Narwal, Aman, Vikash Khandola, Saurabh Nandal, Mahender Singh (C) , Sudhakar Kadam