The opening night of the Mumbai leg sees Bengal Warriors battle Telugu Titans at the Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai in what is a battle for the third spot in Zone B.
The two met previously in Season 6 in the Sonepat leg, where Abozar Mohajermighani and Vishal Bhardwaj combined to score nine tackle points, but Bengal Warriors took home a 30-25 win. A large part of the credit for that win goes to Bengal Warriors’ lead raider Maninder Singh who scored 11 raid points; a tally which was more than twice what any other raider managed in the match.
Match 55 (Zone B): Bengal Warriors vs. Telugu Titans
Head-to-head: Bengal Warriors 6-3 Telugu Titans
Bengal Warriors have won only one of their last four games and are in need of a win to increase their odds of reaching the Super Playoffs. Their previous game against U.P. Yoddha ended in 30-30 tie. Maninder Singh was his outstanding best, scoring 14 raid points whereas Shrikant Tewthia led the defence with three tackle points. A victory against Telugu Titans will propel Bengal Warriors into third spot, just a point behind second-placed U.P. Yoddha.
Telugu Titans were also involved in a tie against the U.P. Yoddha in their previous match in what was a display of defensive domination from both sides. Mighani scored four tackle points and was ably supported by Anil Kumar, Krushna Madane and Mohsen Maghsoudlou who combined to score five tackle points. Telugu Titans’ defence managed to hold Rishank Devadiga and Shrikant Jadhav to just four points each, showcasing the kind of quality they boast of in their defensive unit.
A victory against Bengal Warriors will not only take them above U.P. Yoddha into the second spot in Zone B, but also avenge their loss earlier in the campaign to the same side.
The big battle –
Maninder Singh vs. Vishal Bhardwaj
Maninder Singh has been stupendous in Season 6 for Bengal Warriors and has the led the way in offence for his side. The raider has scored 63 raid points in six matches this campaign, 28 more than the next best tally on the team. He managed a Super 10 in Bengal Warriors’ previous encounter against the Telugu Titans. A similar performance would be of great help to his side’s cause against the dynamic defence that the Telugu Titans have in their ranks.
Telugu Titans’ captain Vishal Bhardwaj has had a season to remember so far. He leads the league in average tackle points with 4.33 and his partnership with Mighani is currently the most feared Corner tandem in the league. In his previous outing against reigning champion Patna Pirates, Bhardwaj delivered the defensive performance of the season, scoring nine tackle points in just eight attempts at an astonishing strike rate of 112.50.
While Maninder got the better of Bhardwaj in their previous duel, round 2 is expected to be a tough battle and might be the deciding factor in this match.
Key Khiladi –
Jang Kun Lee – Bengal Warriors
Jang Kun Lee has been a dependable secondary raider for the Bengal Warriors in this campaign. He is the team’s second-highest scoring player with 35 raid points to his name so far. With him being the only left raider in Bengal Warriors’ starting seven, Lee’s duel against Mighani will be crucial in determining the outcome of this fixture.
Abozar Mighani – Telugu Titans
One of only three players in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 averaging over four tackle points a match, Abozar Mighani has been a stalwart for Telugu Titans in defence. His ability to pull off solo tackles is matched by very few in the world, making him a dangerous proposition even when his team are down to three or fewer men. The Right Corner will face a tricky customer in Lee and it will be essential for Mighani to keep him quiet on the night while Bhardwaj deals with Maninder.