U.P. Yoddha vs Dabang Delhi: Preview and Prediction

Naveen Kumar is the only raider to score more than 100 raid points in this season so far

Table-toppers Dabang Delhi will meet U.P. Yoddha in the 40th match of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 on Saturday at the Sheraton Grand Convention Centre in Bengaluru. The two teams have had contrasting fortunes in the 8th edition of the PKL so far. 

Dabang Delhi’s defense has been poor with Manjeet Chillar and Jeeva Kumar being a pale shadow of their past. However, if they return to form the Dabang Delhi team can be invincible as Naveen Kumar is in the form of his life. Vijay is an all-round package and the franchise will hope that he returns to form. 

U.P. Yoddha’s defense has been poor and impatient at multiple points in PKL 8. Other than Sumit, no defender has stood out. Their raiding duo of Pardeep Narwal and Shrikant Jadhav has failed to live up to the billing and Surender Gill has been the lone warrior in the attack.

How have they done so far?

U.P. Yoddha is placed 9th on the points table with a solitary win from 6 matches so far. The Yoddha began with a loss against the defending champions Bengal Warriors. Since then, the team has shown signs of improvement but hasn’t really performed like a top-half side. In the previous match against the Tamil Thalaivas, the all-round performance from the Surjeet Singh-led team resulted in a 39-33 loss for the Yoddha.

Dabang Delhi’s issues have been masked by Naveen Kumar’s exceptional run in the tournament so far. The defense has failed to live up to the expectations and the franchise would have faced multiple losses if not for the raider’s 106-point effort in PKL 8 so far. They are at the top of the cellar and are the only unbeaten team in this edition with 4 wins and a couple of ties.

Head to Head Record

U.P. Yoddha has dominated the head-to-head battle between the two franchises winning 4 out of the 5 meetings. In season 7 of the PKL, Delhi and U.P. shared honors with one win apiece.

In the first match, Dabang Delhi won the match 36-27 as Naveen Kumar scored 16 raid points and registered their first-ever win over the Yoddha. However, in the reverse fixture, Dabang Delhi missed the services of Naveen and was trounced 50-33 by their opponents.

Key Players

Sumit is the best performing U.P. defender on the mat

Sumit is the best performing U.P. defender on the mat

Sumit: Statistically, Sumit is the best defender for the U.P. Yoddha with 17 tackle points to his name. He has been on the mat for 80% of the time but he has been poor in terms of his strike rate as he has lacked support from teammates. 

Naveen Kumar: Naveen Kumar singlehandedly led his franchise to a 36-35 victory over the Telugu Titans in the previous match. He is the only raider to register more than 100 raid points in this edition. U.P. Yoddha has been poor in the defensive department and it is unlikely that the defense will stop the Naveen Express and the Yoddhas can only hope for the law of averages to catch up.

Predicted Starting 7s

Dabang Delhi: Naveen Kumar, Jeeva Kumar, Manjeet Chillar, Vijay, Ashu Malik, Sandeep Narwal, Joginder Narwal

U.P. Yoddha: Pardeep Narwal, Ashu Singh, Shubham Kumar, Ankit, Surender Gill, Nitesh Kumar, Sumit


Dabang Delhi has been over-reliant on Naveen Kumar but the U.P. Yoddha doesn’t have the arsenal to derail the Naveen Express. If U.P. takes a brave decision of taking a punt on Surender Gill as their main raider instead of the misfiring Pardeep Narwal, they might have a chance. But the Dabang Delhi team will enter this match as hot favorites.