Defending champions Bengaluru Bulls begin their VIVO Pro Kabaddi title defence against three-time winners Patna Pirates at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday. It promises to be an action-packed encounter with both teams boasting of star raiding units. Patna Pirates head into the new campaign eager to reclaim the VIVO Pro Kabaddi crown. Bengaluru Bulls, meanwhile, will want to begin their title defence on a positive note and they will be confident of their chances as long as ‘High-Flyer’ Pawan Kumar Sehrawat fires.
Match 2: Bengaluru Bulls vs Patna Pirates
Head-to-head: Bengaluru Bulls 3 – 10 Patna Pirates. 2 Ties.
The reigning champions will want to build on their performances from last season, which saw them top their zone and overcome Gujarat Fortunegiants in the final. Pawan ‘Hi-Flyer’ Sehrawat, who was last season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) and top raider with 271 raid points, will once again be Bengaluru Bulls’ biggest attacking threat. He will have the experienced Rohit Kumar in support, making them one of the most lethal raiding duos in the league. The responsibility of leading the team’s defence will be shouldered by Mahender Singh, who scored 63 tackle points for them last year. He’ll have the likes of Amit Sheron and Ashish Kumar – who showed glimpses of what they’re capable of in Season 6 – to share the burden.
Patna Pirates, on the other hand, will be raring to return to action and showcase the form that made them the highest point-scoring team of Season 5. Their talisman Pardeep ‘Record-Breaker’ Narwal – the league’s all-time leading raid-point-scorer with 858 raid points – will spearhead their attack, while foreign recruits Jang Kun Lee and Mohammad Maghsoudlou Mahalli have been roped in this year to support the star raider. As far as their defence goes, Jaideep – scorer of 58 tackle points last campaign – will be looking to work in tandem with Jawahar Dagar, Vikas Jaglan and Hadi Oshtorak to keep the Bengaluru Bulls’ potent raiding duo at bay.