The Ahmedabad leg is off to a dazzling start with The Arena playing host to some exciting encounters on the first two days. To make it sweeter, home team Gujarat Fortunegiants have been able to taste victory in both their home matches so far, with the cheering fans making a lasting impact on the team's morale. As the league enters Matchday 15 on Sunday, a battle between two star raiders and two star defenders will take centre stage. Let’s check out these clashes.
Match 26 (Zone B): Patna Pirates vs U.P. Yoddha
Double defending champions Patna Pirates take on league debutants U.P. Yoddha for the first time this season. The Pirates sit second in the Zone B points table with 15 points from three matches and a massive score difference of 27 points. U.P. Yoddha, meanwhile, sit a place lower after Saturday’s win over Telugu Titans, which takes them to 15 points in four matches.
The Pirates are in majestic form having decisively won all of their three matches this season, with captain Pardeep Narwal proving a tough nut to crack. He has picked up three consecutive Super 10s this season with a mammoth points tally of 42. Alongside Narwal, raider Monu Goyat has also been in glistening form, aiding his young captain not a little and giving the attack a solid look. Both raiders will look to continue the good work and take their team to their fourth straight win.
U.P. Yoddha, meanwhile, have won three of their four encounters this season and look consistent overall. The fact that both Nitin Tomar and Rishank Devadiga came back from their injuries to put up a grand show on Saturday will be a huge boost to the league debutants. Apart from Tomar and Devadiga, Mahesh Goud has also performed well, picking up points whenever introduced onto the mat. And then, Rajesh Narwal has been an unwavering figure at the back alongside the experienced Jeeva Kumar and young Nitesh Kumar. However, the mighty Pirates will be their biggest challenge yet.
Match 27 (Zone A): Gujarat Fortunegiants vs Jaipur Pink Panthers
Gujarat Fortunegiants has had a good home leg as of now with two consecutive wins to reach the top spot in the Zone A Points table with 18 points from five matches. Jaipur Pink Panthers tasted victory in their last encounter but sit at the bottom of the table with six points from two games.
Captain Sukesh Hegde had a dip of form after their first victory but seems to have got his mojo back on home turf in the last two wins. Be that as it may, young raider Sachin has drawn maximum attention, with his consistent, decisive performances so far, especially in Gujarat’s last two wins. With one of the best defensive corner combinations in the league in the form of Iranian duo Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani, the Fortunegiants can rest peacefully in that department. Even youngsters Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar have shown great resolve in the back. If Gujarat’s newly-found confidence and form continues, it would be very tough for any opponent to stop them.
Jaipur Pink Panthers, on the other hand, started their season 5 campaign with a loss, but managed to get back to winning ways in their last match against Puneri Paltan. The ‘One Man Army’ Manjeet Chhillar is the talisman of the Jaipur side, and rightly so. His dazzling performance in the last match was the main reason behind the team’s victory. If one does manage to get past him, in that scenario there are the likes of Somvir Shekhar and Navneet Gautam, who step into the breach without ado.
The raiding department is headed by seasoned campaigner Jasvir Singh and the young Tushar Patil. Unfortunately, the team’s main raider Selvamani K. had to be sidelined after picking up an injury in their first game. The coach will hope that star raider gets fully fit quickly and adds more weight to the team.
Catch the action live from 8 pm IST onwards on the Star Sports network and hotstar.