Pro Kabaddi: Dabang Delhi looking for top-4 push
After an exhilarating Hyderabad leg, which saw major changes to the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi league table, the action shifts to the Thyagaraj Sports Complex, Delhi. The home team – Dabang Delhi – languish in 6th spot and will be looking for the home support to spur them on to the semi-final spots.
The biggest news for the home team will be the return of star raider Surjeet Narwal. This news could not have come any sooner for the Dabangs, who have had an indifferent season so far, and last season's best player for them will inject some much-needed quality to the side.
The Ravinder Pahal-led side will showcase their kabaddi in front of the home support in the first match of the leg against lowly Bengal Warriors, who have failed to win a single match in 7 attempts. This would be a good chance for the Dabangs to start their campaign on a positive note and coach Honnappa C Gowda will ensure that his side is up for the challenge after a good 3-day rest.
Patna Pirates will look to reclaim their top-4 spot against the Bengaluru Bulls, which promises to be a cracker of a match. Despite the injury to captain Rakesh Kumar, the Pirates staged a revival at the home leg, which was brought to a crashing halt after a demoralising loss to Telugu Titans. The Bulls will look to close the gap on the top 2 spots as the league enters its business end.
Tougher fixtures ahead for Dabang Delhi
The second day will see Bengal Warriors try to inflict a second loss on U Mumba. The team from Mumbai saw their winning run snapped in cruel fashion against Jaipur Pink Panthers and will be going all guns blazing to move to the top spot again. Dinesh Kumar will be hoping to lead his side to an unlikely win by taking advantage of the shell-shocked Mumbaikars. The home side face off against Patna Pirates in the second match of the day as both teams look to enter the top 4 and stake their claim for a semi-final berth. The Dabangs will need the backing of the crowd if they are to overcome, what is expected to be, a stiff challenge by the Pirates.
The only match of the third day will see giant-killers Jaipur Pink Panthers continue their revival against the hosts. After defeating U Mumba, the Panthers entered the top-4 spots and will be looking to consolidate their position with another win. The Dabangs, on their part, will try to make the most of the Panthers' inconsistency this season and their best chance of a win would be to keep the man in form – Sonu Narwal – quiet.
The Panthers will face lowly Puneri Paltan on the final day of the Delhi leg. The Paltan have won just 1 match this season and need an extremely dominant run, if not a miracle, to make the semi-finals. Wazir Singh's return from injury is a massive boost for them while Pravin Niwale has been in good touch this season and the team's hopes of progression to the next stage lie with them. The going gets tougher for the home team in the final match of the leg as they will lock horns with the new league leaders – Telugu Titans. This will be a true test of credentials of the side from Delhi and a test which they will have to pass with flying colours if they harbour hopes of making the semis.
It is high time Delhi delivered as time is running out for them. Lying in 6th spot currently, the Dabangs are 4 points behind Jaipur in 4th spot and with 4 matches in 4 days, the ball is in their court to put pressure on the other sides by putting up a good challenge for the semi-final spot.