VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 is setting new milestones at every step and the nation and fans are basking in it. Hosting the league for the first time, Nagpur has proved to be a fantastic venue, going by the incredible crowd support at the Mankapur Indoor Stadium. The city famous for its oranges will now gear up to host its last matches on Thursday evening. Here’s a look at both the contests.
Match 21 (Zone A): Puneri Paltan vs Jaipur Pink Panthers
Head-to-head: Puneri Paltan 2-5 Jaipur Pink Panthers
Puneri Paltan have been unbeaten in both their matches they have played so far and at present lead the Zone A points table with 10 points on score difference. The Paltan defence has been their strongest point this season and they have convincingly restricted the experienced U Mumba and Dabang Delhi K.C. attacks in their previous encounters. Star defender Dharmaraj Cheralathan and all-rounder Sandeep Narwal’s partnership has been solid at the back, with Deepak Hooda leading his team and the raiding department from the front. Seasoned campaigner Rajesh Mondal also has been in fine touch, and the Paltan go into this encounter high on confidence.
Jaipur Pink Panthers have played just one match this season so far, where they lost to Dabang Delhi K.C. The two most expensive players in the squad, ‘One-Man-Army’ Manjeet Chhillar and Selvamani K could hardly make a difference on the mat in that match. Both the captain and the popular raider need to get their mojo back in this encounter. Jaipur’s positives from the last match are raider Jasvir Singh and young Pawan Kumar and all eyes will be on them again. The attack looks settled but coach Balwan Singh needs to tighten the defence to get desired results.
Match 22 (Zone B): Bengaluru Bulls vs Tamil Thalaivas
Head-to-head: Bengaluru Bulls 1-0 Tamil Thalaivas
Bengaluru Bulls have got their groove back after registering a tie and win in their last two matches. They now lead the Zone B Points table with 19 points from 6 encounters with all their departments in sync. Rohit Kumar has already shown what he is capable of and has been nicely aided by Ajay Kumar and Harish Naik. Defender Ravinder Pahal was a complete beast in Wednesday’s win against Bengal Warriors beside Sachin Kumar. Bengaluru Bulls at present have the highest tackle points (50) and do-or-die points (29) in the league and will look to consolidate their performance from the last two matches.
Tamil Thalaivas enter tonight’s encounter after two consecutive defeats, both against their southern counterparts - Telugu Titans and the Bulls. The last time the Thalaivas met Bengaluru Bulls at the same venue, they came very close but lost by a single-point difference. Currently lying at the bottom of Zone B points table, coach K Baskaran needs to unlock what is restricting the team’s performance. Ajay Thakur and K. Prapanjan have been in good form but the defence has not been up to the mark. Amit Hooda is yet to show his class.
Catch all the action live from 8 pm IST onwards on the Star Sports network and hotstar.