Star Sports Pro Kabaddi: What to expect from the Hyderabad leg
Preview of the Hyderabad leg of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi
After a successful first half, which saw Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur and Patna host the season 2 of Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, the caravan now moves to Hyderabad. The new home of second-placed side Telugu Titans will witness the League for the first time as the Titans played in Vizag last season.
The culmination of the first half saw U Mumba top the table while Puneri Paltan lie at the bottom. Defending champions Jaipur Pink Panthers are yet to reside in the top 4 spots this season while Patna Pirates came back strongly at home to propel themselves from bottom to the 4th spot. Bengaluru Bulls and Telugu Titans occupy the other top 4 spots while Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors are 5th and 7th, respectively.
The home side will open the Hyderabad leg against Jaipur Pink Panthers, who would be looking to make the semis with a strong showing in the latter half of the league. The captaincy switch to Deepak Nivas Hudda midway through the season has helped Rahul Chaudhari return to his best for the Titans. After the crowd at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium would have seen the home team in action, league leaders U Mumba will take on the Dabangs from Delhi in, what is expected to be, a close encounter owing to the form of both the sides and the expected return of Surjeet Narwal to the Delhi side.
The only match on the second day of the leg will be between Telugu Titans and Bengal Warriors. The home side would look to make the most of the indifferent form of the Warriors this season and put pressure on U Mumba at the top. Bengal Warriors captain Dinesh Kumar would be pleased with the draw against the Pirates in Patna, but would want his team to help out star raider Jang Kun Lee more.
A titanic battle between the home side and Patna Pirates
Manjeet Chhillar-led Bengaluru Bulls will take on the Warriors on the 6th as the Bulls look to displace Telugu Titans from the second spot ahead of the Bengaluru leg. They will look to Ajay Thakur to provide the much-needed energy to the team as the star raider has so far been off-colour. Joginder Narwal has had a brilliant debut season for the Bulls and will be required to deliver once again against Jang Kun Lee and company.
The home team will face a resurgent Patna Pirates, who have remained undefeated (2 wins and 1 draw) in captain Rakesh Kumar’s absence through injury. Stand in captain Sandeep Narwal has marshalled his troops well, but that has curbed his attacking instinct. It will be interesting to see how the Pirates line up against the mighty Telugu Titans.
On the final day of the Hyderabad leg, last season’s finalists will face-off in the 8pm match. Jaipur Pink Panthers were narrowly beaten by U Mumba in the season opener and the Navneet Gautam-led side will look to get revenge on Anup Kumar’s team.
Bottom of the table, Puneri Paltan, will seek to dent Telugu Titans’ chances of a semi-final spot on the final match of the leg. Wazir Singh and Pravin Niwale have been in stellar form for the Paltans, but their defence has been suspect. The home team will, once again, rely on Rahul Chaudhari and Deepak Nivas Hudda to deliver the goods, while 18-year-old Sandeep and Meraj Sheykh will be providing the defensive solidarity at the back.
All in all, it promises to be a cracker of a segment in this league as we enter the business end. The Telugu Titans will look to push U Mumba to the limit and it looks like they will at least close the gap on the league leaders while it is a good chance for the teams in the bottom half to pick themselves up and start afresh.