The penultimate day of action in vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 9 gives us two intriguing semi-finals at the Dome, NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday. The first semi-final of the evening pits Jaipur Pink Panthers against Bengaluru Bulls, while the second semi-final will see Puneri Paltan cross swords with Tamil Thalaivas.

Here are our previews for the semi-finals.

Semi-final 1: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Bengaluru Bulls

After topping the standings at the end of the league stage, Jaipur Pink Panthers will be eager to continue their fine form this season in the semi-final against Bengaluru Bulls. The Panthers have already beaten the Bulls once in the ongoing campaign but they’ve also lost once against the southerners. They will be keen to get the better of the Bulls once again come Thursday and will be hoping that Arjun Deshwal (286 raid points) will be in top form. Deshwal has had support in attack from the likes of V Ajith Kumar (81 raid points) and Rahul Chaudhari (69 raid points). In defence, Ankush with 81 tackle points has been their best performer, while Sunil Kumar (58 tackle points), Sahul Kumar (43 tackle points) and Reza Mirbagheri (30 tackle points) have all made healthy contributions.

Bengaluru Bulls, on the other hand, qualified for the semi-finals after beating Dabang Delhi K.C. in Eliminator 1. The Bulls will be confident about their chances and will hope that they can qualify for the final at the expense of the Panthers. To beat the Panthers, their raiding duo of Bharat (272 raid points) and Vikash Kandola (130 raid points) have to be at their best. Neeraj Narwal and Sachin Narwal are their next best raiders with 90 and 37 raid points respectively. Defensively, Saurabh Nandal (68 tackle points) has been the team’s top performer, while Aman isn’t far behind with his 56 tackle points. Captain Mahender Singh and Neeraj Narwal have also chipped in with 44 and 21 tackle points respectively.

Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Bengaluru Bulls head-to-head

Jaipur Pink Panthers and Bengaluru Bulls have faced each other on 17 occasions. Both teams have won eight matches each, while one game ended in a tie. 

Semi-final 2: Puneri Paltan vs Tamil Thalaivas

Puneri Paltan qualified for the semi-finals after finishing second in the league stage. During the league stage, Puneri Paltan were involved in two thrilling matches against Tamil Thalaivas. They won one of those games 35-34 and lost the other by the same scoreline. However, they will be confident about winning on Thursday, especially with their attack looking strong with their raiding trio of Aslam Inamdar (138 raid points), Akash Shinde (131 raid points) and Mohit Goyat (120 raid points). They are defensively solid as well with captain Fazel Atrachali leading the way with 51 tackle points. The likes of Sombir (35 tackle points), Abinesh Nadarajan (29 tackle points) and Sanket Sawant (28 tackle points) have also contributed.

Meanwhile, Tamil Thalaivas will be making their first-ever semi-final appearance after beating Dabang Delhi K.C. in an exhilarating tie-breaker in Eliminator 2. A lot will depend on the young shoulders of Narender as far as the Thalaivas’ raiding department goes. He has amassed 232 raid points this season and has been well supported by Ajinkya Pawar (123 raid points). Himanshu Singh has been their next best raider with 45 raid points and needless to say, he’ll be keen on adding to his tally in the semi-final. On the defensive front, Sahil Gulia (54 tackle points) and Sagar (53 tackle points) have been their top performers, while M. Abishek and Mohit have chipped in with 39 and 30 tackle points respectively.

Puneri Paltan vs Tamil Thalaivas head-to-head

Puneri Paltan and Tamil Thalaivas have met in eight vivo Pro Kabaddi matches. The two teams have won three matches apiece. Two matches finished in ties.

vivo PKL Schedule for December 15, Thursday 7:30 PM onwards

Semi-final 1: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs Bengaluru Bulls

Semi-final 2: Puneri Paltan vs Tamil Thalaivas

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.