Thursday summons the last day of action at Delhi’s Thyagaraj Sports Complex, after which the VIVO Pro Kabaddi caravan travels southwards to Chennai. The first match will witness a classic south-meets-west battle with Bengaluru Bulls taking on U Mumba, while the second match sees home team Dabang Delhi K.C. playing an inspired Telugu Titans side. Here’s a look at both the matches on Day 3 of the third Inter Zone Challenge Week.
Match 98: Bengaluru Bulls vs U Mumba
Head-to-head: Bengaluru Bulls 2-8 U Mumba
Bengaluru’s Season 5 story has been one of disappointment. Fielding the youngest team in the league, they have managed to win just four of their 16 matches and currently occupy the second-last place in Zone B. They have a very slim chance of making it to the playoffs and now need to win every match to stay in the hunt. The attack has borne a more consistent look recently but it's the defence which has let down the Bulls time and again. With a strong team in U Mumba awaiting them, the Bulls need to charge in both departments to forge an upset.
After two heavy defeats at the hands of Gujarat Fortunegiants, U Mumba came back strongly to win their last match. Sitting fourth in Zone A with 44 points, Anup Kumar’s men need to be more consistent from here to reach the play-offs. The raiders are in good form with the return of Shabeer Bappu giving them more depth, though the defence has been a little edgy at times. However, U Mumba go into this match as the favourites.
Khel Kabaddi Khiladi:
Rohit Kumar has been Bengaluru’s only shining beacon this season and his seven Super 10s and 127 raid points provide corroboration. On his day, Kumar can be a terror for any team’s defence and the Bulls will hope he is in his element when he steps onto the mat against U Mumba.
Even in the presence of more experienced raiders in U Mumba, Shrikant Jadhav has managed to make his mark this season and he enters the match on the back of a Super 10. In all, he has scored a total of 72 points this season, including two Super 10s, and has proved to be a revelation for U Mumba.
Match 99: Dabang Delhi K.C. vs Telugu Titans
Head-to-head: Dabang Delhi K.C. 0-7 Telugu Titans. 1 tie
Delhi’s sordid home leg continues and a win tonight will bring some respite for home fans in what will be the last match in the national capital this season. As the hope of reaching the playoffs is very much over, it would be interesting to see how Meraj Sheykh rallies his troops to end the season on a high. The raiding department’s inconsistency has hurt the team and the defence too hasn’t found the correct combination yet.
The Titans brought some energy to their dilapidated campaign by displaying an all-round performance against Jaipur on Wednesday. Placed fourth in Zone B with 38 points, the Titans hope of reaching the playoffs is as good as over. The raiding department has been the lesser of two evils this season and after their rampage against Jaipur, they will enter the game high on confidence and fancy themselves against a weak Delhi side.
Khel Kabaddi Khiladi:
Delhi have found a new hero in Satpal in recent times. The right corner defender has assuredly picked up the reins after Nilesh Shinde’s injury and proved how lethal his ankle-hold can be. With 20 tackle points picked up in just 7 matches, Delhi may at last have found an answer to their defensive woes.
Chaudhari has proved time and again why he can never be written off. After a string of inconsistent performances, Chaudhari bounced back against Jaipur yesterday to finish the match with 17 points and hand the Titans a much-needed win. With the pressure of captaincy off his shoulders, the Raid Machine has gone back to his original game and is set to shine again.
Catch the action live from Delhi on the Star Sports network and hotstar from 7.30 pm onwards.