Pro Kabaddi 2016 semi-final 1: Patna Pirates vs Puneri Paltan Match Preview
The knockout stages of Pro Kabaddi League Season 4 gets underway tonight, as the defending champions, Patna Pirates, take on the Puneri Paltan, in the first semi-final. We are finally at the knockout stages of Season 4, after a very hard-fought and evenly contested group stage with 4 teams surviving- Patna Pirates, Telugu Titans, Jaipur Pink Panthers and Puneri Paltans. All the knockout matches will be hosted by Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad, home ground of Telugu Titans.
Patna Pirates ended the group stage as the table toppers, with 10 wins and only 4 defeats. Puneri Paltan qualified for the semis at the 4th place, thanks to a superior differential scoring (points scored-points conceded) to U Mumba. The teams from Maharashtra were tied on 42 points.
The group stages are done and dusted, and the table doesn’t count anymore. Any of the 4 teams can win this year’s Pro Kabaddi- all that’s needed is 2 consecutive victories. Be prepared to be amazed as the final 4 give it their all to win Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League Season 4.
Patna Pirates performance so far
Patna Pirates faced Telugu Titans in their last match, with both teams having booked a semis berth. Patna rested their key players- Pardeep Narwal, Bajirao Hodage, Rajesh Mondal and Dharmaraj Cheralathan. Telugu, too, rested some of their key players, but not their skipper, Rahul Chaudhuri.
Chaudhuri ripped the Patna defence apart to produce one of the best performances of Season 4. Abolfaze started off well for the Pirates, but Chaudhuri and the rest of Titans attack proved too good, as they went on to register a 46-25 victory.
Pardeep Narwal has been exceptional this season, with 107 raid points, second to Rahul Chaudhuri’s 119. The 19-year has been a revelation and has shown a lot of composure under immense pressure. It remains to be seen whether the occasion gets to him tonight, but if he can keep his calm, Puneri Paltan are in for a long night.
Rajesh Mondal has been happy playing second fiddle to an exceptional Narwal this season. Mondal has a lot of experience, and a solid performance from him will settle the nerves in the Pirates’ camp.
Patna Pirates defence has been solid throughout this season- thanks to the trio of Fazel Atrachali, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, and Kuldeep Singh. The trio will face an uphill task against in-form Pune raiders, Hooda and Thakur, but with 41, 29 and 23 tackle points, respectively, the trio is certainly ready for the Paltan challenge.
Puneri Paltan performance so far
Puneri Paltan entered their last match under immense pressure, the team was tied on 37 points with U Mumba, with one match remaining. Mumbai were to play the second match of the night, as the Pune side played the opener. They were up against a strong and resilient Bengaluru Bulls team, who were determined to end their campaign with a win.
Deepak Niwas Hooda got the Paltan off to a good start, but Rohit Kumar was in a class of his own, as he led the Bulls to a 21-12 halftime lead. Paltan fought back hard in the second half to inflict an All Out on Bengaluru Bulls, in the 27th minute to level the score at 24 all. Hooda rose to the occasion as the scorpion kicks led to Bulls’ second All Out in the 34th minute to give the Paltan a 6-point lead. Bulls threw whatever they had at their opposition, but Pune stood strong to register a stunning 36-33 victory.
Deepak Niwas Hooda will lead the Paltan charge in the knockout stages, with 101 raid points, just behind Narwal and Chaudhuri. Hooda has been instrumental in Pune’s campaign so far, and his scorpion kicks will give nightmares to the Patna defence.
Pune will pin all their hopes on skipper, Manjeet Chhillar. Chhillar is certainly the best man to lead the Paltans on such a huge occasion, and his presence on the mat will give them loads of confidence. The skipper has 37 tackle points this season even after missing a few games, and will have a potentially match-deciding mini-battle with Pardeep Narwal.
Ajay Thakur came into the limelight, as he dazzled everyone with his performances in Season 1 and 2, but hasn’t lived up to his reputation this season. Thakur has 61 raid points this season, which is in no way a bad season, but not exactly up to Thakur’s level. Hooda is in tremendous form, and if Thakur can regain his form of a few seasons back, Pune will be very hard to stop.
Ravinder Pahal will have to play a strong supporting role in defence, tonight. Along with Chillar, Pahal will have to be at the top of his game to stop Narwal and Co. Pahal has 35 raid points, thus far.
Tonight’s encounter promises to be a thriller, with both the teams strong in every position on the mat. The teams have brilliant raiders in Narwal and Hooda, and excellent defenders in Chhillar and Atrachali.
It will be fascinating to see Hooda and Thakur up against the brilliant defensive trio of the Patna Pirates. The individual battle to watch out for tonight would be the experienced Chhillar up against the young sensation, Pardeep Narwal. Whoever emerges victorious in this battle, with have a huge say in tonight’s result.
Patna Pirates have defeated the Paltans on both occasions this season, and there cannot be a better time for Pune to avenge the defeats.
Defenders: Dharmraj Cheralathan, Bajirao Hodage, Deepak Dhull, Vijin Thangadurai, Fazel Atrachali, Abolfazel Maghsodlo, Sunny, Sunil Kumar
All-rounders: Sanjay Kumar, Hadi Oshtorak, Kuldeep Singh
Raider: Mahesh Goud, Pardeep Narwal, Rajesh Mondal, Vinoth Paulyas
Defenders: I Ketut Ariana, Gurpreet Singh, Somvir Shekhar, Ravinder Pahal, Joginder Narwal, Khomsan Thongkham, Virender Chhillar
All-rounders: Parmod Narwal, Preetam Chhillar, Manjeet Chhillar, Dalbir, Deepak Niwas Hooda
Raider: Ajay Thakur, Sonu Narwal, Jay Bahadur Bohara, Anil Shriram Nimbolkar, Akshay Jadhav
Patna Pirates vs Puneri Paltan Live Match Information
Time: 20:00 IST
Venue: Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad
TV Channels: Star Sports 2/Star Sports 2 HD (English), Star Sports 3/Star Sports 3 HD (Hindi)
Live stream: www.starsports.com