The last match of the Hyderabad leg of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 will see rival raiders Rahul Chaudhari and Pardeep Narwal square off once again at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Thursday evening. In their previous meeting earlier this season, ‘Dubki King’ Narwal’s Patna Pirates handed ‘Raid Machine’ Chaudhari’s Telugu Titans their first loss of the season, and it has been all downhill for the home team since then. They have been unable to produce consistent all-round performances which have reflected in the results for them so far – four straight losses and just one win.
When they face the Pirates on Thursday the team will be looking to redeem some lost pride. Vishal Mane from Patna Pirates is well aware of this and feels they can use this to their advantage. “I think Telugu Titans will look to play aggressively in their next match against us which will work to our advantage. The more aggressively they attack, the more opportunities our defence will have to tackle them,” the right cover told prokabaddi.com. “At the same time our raiders are doing well, so we are confident of scoring while on the offensive,” he added.
Patna performed well in all departments last Saturday with the defenders managing to keep Chaudhari on the sidelines for a significant period and the raiders bringing the weak Telugu Titans defence on its knees. Speaking about the team’s strong all-round showing in their previous encounter, Mane said: “Everything worked according to plan. We knew that if we managed to keep Rahul out of the game, half the match is ours and we were proven right. We have experienced players like Sachin Shingade, Jaideep and Satish in defence whose coordination has been working well. This bodes well for us in the future. Our attack led by Pardeep Narwal has also been looking good.”
The biggest question for Patna Pirates ahead of this season was if young Narwal, who is leading the side for the first time, will be able to balance his job as the primary raider with his new responsibility as a leader. He managed both the jobs well in the opening game, but it’s still early days to form any opinion with certainty. He, however, himself shed light on the matter at hand. “The captain has to set the defence, organise the order of the raiders, and advise young raiders on how to score points in pressure situations. This is a big responsibility,” said the star raider of the Patna side. Coach Ram Mehar Singh couldn’t agree more. “When on the mat, it is up to the captain and senior players to make sure the players are on the same page and to keep them motivated,” he said.
Narwal was seen using the jump and hand-touch on Saturday, and the Dubki King admitted he now had learnt a couple of new ways of scoring on a personal level. “I prepared the jump especially for VIVO Pro Kabaddi because I wanted to do something new this season. It took about a month of preparation,” he said.
The Pirates emerged victors in the previous two editions of the league and will look to secure a hat-trick of titles this season. Mane, however, downplayed the pressure of being double defending champions. “We are not under any pressure. The pressure will instead be on the opposition to stop our winning run,” the defender insisted.