It was a great start to the Ahmedabad leg on Friday with home team Gujarat Fortunegiants stunning Season 2 champions U Mumba in a one-sided affair at The Arena. Fans can except the thrill to continue as VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 enters Matchday 14 on Saturday, with a couple of interesting clashes on the cards. Here’s a look at tonight’s matches.
Match 24 (Zone B): Telugu Titans vs U.P. Yoddha
Head-to-head: Telugu Titans 0-1 U.P. Yoddha
Telugu Titans meet U.P. Yoddha for the second time this season after the latter scored a comprehensive victory in Hyderabad in the opening leg. Telugu Titans are presently placed fourth in the Zone B points table with 11 points from 7 matches, and U.P. Yoddha a berth lower at fifth, with 10 points from 3 matches.
After suffering five consecutive defeats, their worst patch in history, the Titans managed a draw against their southern counterparts Bengaluru Bulls in their last match. After a prolonged break, the Titans looked more fresh and collected in that match, and Rahul Chaudhari and Nilesh Salunke ensured the team didn’t suffer a sixth straight defeat.
However, the defence line is a bit of worry for the Titans with neither Rakesh Kumar nor Rohit Rana clicking. Vishal Bhardwaj has been the only shining beacon but clearly he needs more support. Coach Naveen Kumar needs to lift the team’s spirits and ensure that there remains less pressure on the Raid Machine so that he can play more freely.
U.P. Yoddha, meanwhile, began their campaign brilliantly with Nitin Tomar leading from the front as they picked up two quick victories only to succumb to the brilliance of Bengal Warriors in their last match. The Yoddha are still reeling from the injuries sustained by star raider Rishank Devadiga and Tomar. While Devadiga did not play the previous match, Tomar had to be substituted early due to an ankle injury. The team will hope that both players return to full fitness in time for this match and exploit an under-confident Titans side. Be that as it may, the defence line-up headed by Rajesh Narwal and Jeeva Kumar needs to be sharpened to sustain them in the long season ahead.
Match 25 (Zone A): Gujarat Fortunegiants vs Dabang Delhi K.C.
Head-to-head: Gujarat Fortunegiants 1-0 Dabang Delhi K.C.
Gujarat Fortunegiants registered a victory over Dabang Delhi K.C. when they last met in Hyderabad in the opening leg. Gujarat now helm the Zone A points table with 13 points from 4 encounters, while Delhi sit fifth with 7 points from 4 matches.
Gujarat went into a slight slump of form after their first-match victory but on Friday they came back brilliantly to beat a seasoned U Mumba side. They ticked off every box in the game, from defence to attack, to start their home leg on a winning note. With one of the best defence combinations in the league in the form of Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani, and youngsters like Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal also pitching in, the sky is the limit for the home team. Captain Sukesh Hegde is back in good touch but the players whom Delhi will probably be more wary of Rohit Gulia and Sachin, the architects of Friday’s win.
Dabang Delhi K.C., meanwhile, need to get their strategy and game plan sorted before they step onto the mat as they have faced three defeats in a row after a sole victory. The dip in form of captain Meraj Sheykh is one of the major reasons behind their downhill ride. Though, Sheykh upped his game in their last match, it wasn’t enough for the team. Anand Patil and R. Sriram have been contributing regularly but they need to do more in light of Sheykh’s unpredictable form. The defence on the other side, steered by the experienced Nilesh Shinde and Bajirao Hodage, looks more organised than the attack. With Gujarat now back to winning ways, the Delhi brigade has a tough task on its hands on Saturday.
Catch all the action live from 8 pm IST onwards on the Star Sports network and hotstar.