After a highly-anticipated wait, vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 is ready to begin at the Shree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday, October 7th from 7:30 PM IST. Fans will finally make their return to the stadiums for the new campaign after a long wait due to the pandemic.
The opening day of the new season offers fans a triple panga with Dabang Delhi K.C. and U Mumba competing in the first match, while Bengaluru Bulls face Telugu Titans in the second. The last game from the opening day features Jaipur Pink Panthers and U.P. Yoddhas.
Here’s our preview for the opening-day matches:
Match 1: Dabang Delhi K.C. vs U Mumba
Defending champions Dabang Delhi K.C. begin their vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 with a clash against Season 2 champions U Mumba. Naveen Kumar will once again be Dabang Delhi K.C.’s main raider in the upcoming campaign, while all-rounder Vijay is also expected to support him in attack. Ashu Malik is another player who will be hoping to contribute in attack, whereas the likes of Suraj Panwar, Manjeet and Ashish Narwal will also boost their raiding department. In defence, Dabang Delhi K.C. have plenty of good options like Sandeep Dhull, Amit Hooda and Ravi Kumar combining to provide the team defensive solidity.
Meanwhile, U Mumba will be hoping to make a positive start to the season themselves and will be confident about doing so with their youthful squad. Guman Singh, who became U Mumba’s most expensive buy in vivo Pro Kabaddi history at ₹1.215 crores, will be his team’s main raider this season and a lot is expected from him after he scored 95 raid points in 19 matches in Season 8. He will be aided by Ashish and Shivam and will need his supporting cast in attack to contribute to ease the pressure from his shoulders. On the defensive front, captain Surinder Singh and Rinku will have to shoulder most of the responsibility for U Mumba. The aforementioned duo along with Prince, Rahul, Shivansh Thakur and Harendra Kumar are expected to be the team’s defensive mainstays.
Dabang Delhi K.C. vs U Mumba head-to-head
Dabang Delhi K.C. and U Mumba have faced each other 18 times. Dabang Delhi K.C. have won five matches while U Mumba have triumphed 12 times. Only one of the 18 matches between the teams ended in a tie.
Match 2: Bengaluru Bulls vs Telugu Titans
Bengaluru Bulls will go up against Telugu Titans in their vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 opener. The Season 6 champions will be hoping that Vikash Kandola - their big money buy at the vivo Pro Kabaddi player auction - can come good after they bought him for ₹1.70 crores. A massive attacking threat when on song, Kandola is capable of singlehandedly changing the course of a match with his clinical raids. Kandola will have support from the likes of More G B and Neeraj Narwal in attack, while their defence boasts Saurabh Nandal, Mahender Singh and Aman, all of whom have previously been a part of the Bengaluru Bulls setup and know what is expected of them.
On the other hand, Telugu Titans will be confident about bagging an opening day win too and why shouldn’t they be considering the array of options they have in attack. With players like Ankit Beniwal, Rajnish, Siddharth Desai, Abhishek Singh and Monu Goyat in the team, it’s safe to say that they are spoilt for choices as far as raiders are concerned. A glance at their defence also reveals that they have a collection of proven vivo Pro Kabaddi defenders within their ranks. Players like Vishal Bhardwaj, Parvesh Bhainswal, Surjeet Singh and Ravinder Pahal make for a star-studded defence that opposition raiders definitely won’t fancy going up against.
Bengaluru Bulls vs Telugu Titans head-to-head
Bengaluru Bulls have met Telugu Titans in 19 matches. Out of these 19 matches, Bengaluru Bulls have been victorious on 12 occasions whereas Telugu Titans have won thrice. The other four games finished in ties.
Match 3: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs U.P. Yoddhas
The final match of the opening day in vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 will feature Jaipur Pink Panthers crossing swords with U.P. Yoddhas. The Season 1 champions look like a solid squad on paper and will be hoping that they can fulfill their potential on the mat. With raiders like Rahul Chaudhari, Arjun Deshwal and V Ajith Kumar in the team, the Panthers have ensured that they have multiple choices in attack. Arjun Deshwal was the second-highest raid points (267) scorer last season and will be the team’s primary raider with the support of Rahul Chaudhari and V Ajith Kumar as secondary raiders. In defence, Jaipur Pink Panthers have the experienced Sunil Kumar and Sahul Kumar, who impressed with his tackling for the Season 1 champions in the last campaign. Furthermore, new additions like Lucky Sharma and Nitin Chandel will also hope to help out defensively.
As far as the U.P. Yoddhas are concerned, all eyes will be on their exciting raiding trio of Pardeep Narwal, Surender Gill and Nitin Tomar. All three raiders are match-winners on their day and will share the burden of earning raid points for the Yoddhas. The duo of Pardeep Narwal and Surender Gill scored 188 and 189 raid points for the Yoddhas last season and will back themselves to get even more points in the upcoming campaign with Nitin Tomar by their side to ease the attacking burden on them. Defensively, a lot will depend on their established pairing of Nitesh Kumar and Sumit. Both the defenders have plenty of experience of playing alongside each other and you can rest assured that opposition raiders won’t be looking forward to facing them. Sumit, who was among the top five defenders in the last two seasons, makes for a perfect partner for the more experienced Nitesh, who will be the leader of the U.P. Yoddhas defence.
Jaipur Pink Panthers vs U.P. Yoddhas head-to-head
Jaipur Pink Panthers and U.P. Yoddhas have played against each other seven times. The Panthers have won three matches while the Yoddhas have secured four wins.
vivo PKL Schedule for Friday, October 7
Match 1: Dabang Delhi K.C. vs U Mumba, 7:30 PM IST
Match 2: Bengaluru Bulls vs Telugu Titans, 8:30 PM IST
Match 3: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs U.P. Yoddhas, 9:30 PM IST
Where to watch vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 LIVE?
Catch all the LIVE action from vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 on the Star Sports Network and LIVE streaming on Disney+Hotstar.