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Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4: Chalk and cheese captains to face off in Jaipur vs U Mumba clash

Amit Sinha
661   //    14 Jul 2016, 10:38 IST
Anup Kumar will take on Jasvir Singh today in the battle of big guns

In what is being billed as the most exciting of clash of Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4, Jaipur Pink Panthers will take on U Mumba in front of the crowds at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru tonight. Jaipur Pink Panthers have given some of the most exciting contests to the viewers in the tournament. The team’s confidence will be sky high after they won their tie against Dabang Delhi at a canter before piling misery on the Patna Pirates to give them their second defeat of the tournament after a 5 match winning streak.

U Mumba, on the other hand, would be proud of their performance against the Bengaulru Bulls, where their ever so reliable skipper Anup Kumar fashioned a one point victory after the team was down and out at half time.

What makes the clash between two giants of western India exciting is the brand of kabaddi they have played in the tournament till now. In Jasvir Singh, the team has a leader who will go on an all out attack from the moment go. Anyone who has followed cricket in the past decade would corroborate that the Jasvir Singh looks to have been cut from the same cloth as the Delhi and India opener Virender Sehwag.

The Panthers’ skipper just doesn’t believe in going soft. If a team is down, he will tell his men to go full throttle to tear the opposition apart. That’s exactly what the team did against Dabang Delhi and gave them a defeat whose scars will live on. The team also showed great courage to fight back and snatch a tie against Bengaluru Bulls in their home leg game. Despite Rohit Rana’s absence, the team has blossomed with players of the caliber of Rajesh Narwal, Shabeer Bapu and the captain stepping up occasions when it has mattered.

There is no doubt that U Mumba have looked a different side than what they looked in the first three seasons. But despite that, captain Anup Kumar has carried the team on his broad shoulders remarkably well to keep them in contention. They might be in the fifth position but it doesn’t take a long time for table standings to change in Pro Kabaddi.

A number of things have gone wrong for the team. The defence has looked weak in the absence of Surender Nada and Vishal Mane, who aren’t enjoying great seasons either with their franchises. Rishank Devadiga’s penetration of last year has gone missing despite some brilliant individual performances.

Even Anup Kumar has struggled, largely due to the absence of Shabeer Bapu, who was the go to raider in case Devadiga had an off day. Now, with Shabeer Bapu plying his trade for the Panthers, an added responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of U Mumba skipper. However, one area where the calm and composed Anup Kumar scores over his opposite number is his ability to hold his own even under immense pressure. Jasvir Singh has shown the propensity of panicking when things begin to spiral out of control for the Panthers.

The first match between the two teams saw U Mumba just edge past a belligerent Panthers when they won the second contest of the tournament by a 2 point margin. Shabeer Bapu showed how well he knew the U Mumba’s setup and continually disturbed the team’s defence with his superb raids. U Mumba went one up on the Panthers with that win as before that match in Mumbai, both teams had three wins against each other.

The match in Bengaluru presents the Panthers with a great chance to get even with their western rivals. But, any plan to defeat U Mumba would need a Plan A to get the better of their talismanic captain Anup Kumar. Do the Panthers have it in them to stop the MS Dhoni of Indian kabaddi? Or will the Virender Sehwag of Kabaddi succeed once again in unsettling the U Mumba defence with his attack from the word go strategy.

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Amit Sinha
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