Tamil Thalaivas will consider themselves unlucky not to have returned with even a single victory in their VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 campaign so far. The Ajay Thakur-led side played the opening game in both the legs and were outdone by the home team on both occasions, first Telugu Titans in Hyderabad and then the Bulls in Nagpur. They put up a good fight on the back of some strong performances by raider K. Prapanjan and captain Thakur but narrowly missed out on victory. On Thursday, they will be looking for payback against an inspired Bengaluru Bulls side in the southern derby rematch.
A lot has happened since the last time these two teams met. Bengaluru Bulls were riding extremely high on confidence back then - having beaten Telugu Titans comprehensively in their opening game - and they managed to beat the Thalaivas by a single point largely due to the heroics of captain Rohit Kumar. However, the Bulls campaign ran into rough waters soon after, with the team failing to live up to the ever-mounting expectations and succumbing to two consecutive defeats on home turf. They had no answer against a rampaging Pardeep Narwal (Patna Pirates) and Nitin Tomar (U.P. Yoddha) in those two games. However, following a day’s rest they looked rejuvenated and came back to play out a draw against Telugu Titans and then secure a comprehensive win against Bengal Warriors on Wednesday. Both Ajay Kumar and Ravinder Pahal have got their groove back and the Bulls can now be less stressed about addressing raiding and defensive woes.
Tamil Thalaivas’ form, meanwhile, seems to be on an upswing as the margin of their losses has got narrower. In the previous game against Bengaluru Bulls especially, they made a strong comeback in the second half and almost managed to take the game away from the home team before Rohit’s last-ditch effort put the Bulls over the line. Their main raider K. Prapanjan has been doing well for them so far and has scored 13 points from his two games. Even captain Thakur has managed to put in some good raids and apply pressure on the opposition defence. On Tuesday, the duo will look to take advantage of the Bulls defence and exploit their unsettled corners. If defender Amit Hooda manages to keep the Bulls raiders quiet, then one can expect things to come down to the wire.
Whichever way the game goes, the fans are sure to be treated to some end-to-end action in this clash of the two southern giants as the Mankapur Indoor Stadium in Nagpur gears up to host its last VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 game.
Catch the action live from 9 pm IST on the Star Sports network and hotstar.