Patna Pirates will look to re-affirm their status as defending champions when they face U.P. Yoddha at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Thursday by aiming to register their first win in Season 6 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. U.P. Yoddha, on the other hand, will hope to repeat their heroics from their opening game in this campaign, where they recorded a convincing 37-32 win over the Tamil Thalaivas.

Match 9, Zone B: U.P. Yoddha vs. Patna Pirates

Head-To-Head: Patna Pirates 1-1 U.P. Yoddha, 1 Tie.

The raiding department has been a silver lining for the defending champions, with two-time reigning MVP Pardeep Narwal scoring 11 raid points and rookie Manjeet impressing with eight raid points on his debut. But the key to Patna Pirates’ potential victory, perhaps, lies in their defence. The three-time champions, though, are well-versed in making adjustments and elevating their game as history has shown, particularly in Season 5. Patna Pirates will be raring to have a go at U.P. Yoddha and prove their mettle as well as their championship pedigree.     

U.P. put on a clinical display against Tamil Thalaivas in their 37-32 win with contributions from multiple players on both sides of the mat. With all eyes on newly-appointed captain and lead raider Rishank Devadiga, it was Prashanth Kumar Rai who led the Yoddha offence with eight raid points. Devadiga and Shrikant Jadhav were among the raid points in what was a good outing for the raiding department. In defence, all-rounder Narender was impressive as was Right Corner Nitish Kumar, in their match against Tamil Thalaivas, who were coming off a convincing win against the Patna Pirates.

With each side having contrasting fortunes against the same opponents in their opening matches, this game promises to serve up an excellent battle between two quality sides.

The big battle

Jeeva Kumar vs. Pardeep Narwal

The key to U.P. Yoddha’s attempts to grab a win against the defending champion Patna Pirates is to keep the ‘Dubki King’ Pardeep Narwal in check. Veteran Cover Jeeva Kumar will be tasked with the responsibility to ensure his defenders are measured in their approach against the prolific raider.

Key players

Patna Pirates – Manjeet

A good show on his debut against Tamil Thalaivas saw Manjeet score eight raid points and emerge as a player to watch out for this season. While Patna Pirates will still rely on captain Pardeep Narwal to do the bulk of the raiding, Manjeet will have to ensure that he comes away with raid points as well and be an able sidekick to the two-time reigning MVP.

U.P. Yoddha – Rishank Devadiga

The tenacity of Rishank Devadiga is such that he rises to the occasion. While U.P. won the first match, his four points would make him hungrier for more. Devadiga’s outing in the first match was strategic and measured but now against a raid-heavy Patna Pirates, he will have to call upon his full arsenal to get the Yoddha on par and even beyond.