Only nine games remain in the league stage of vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8 but eight teams are still in the hunt for one of the five playoff spots, making each game a final for some teams.
The first game of Thursday’s triple header will pit U.P. Yoddha against U Mumba, while the second game will see Bengaluru Bulls battle Haryana Steelers. In the main event, Dabang Delhi will take on Patna Pirates.
Check out our preview for both games:
Match 124: U.P. Yoddha vs U Mumba
Four wins in their last five matches have seen U.P. Yoddha climb to third on the points table. The key to their resurgence has been Pardeep Narwal’s impeccable form. After slow start to life as a U.P. Yoddha, Pardeep has found his footing and has registered four straight Super 10s. The Record-Breaker has climbed to eighth on the list of the league’s leading raid point scorers and has notched eight Super Raids, only two fewer than Maninder Singh, who leads the league in that category. With Surender Gill and Pardeep firing on all cylinders, U.P. might be the most dangerous team heading into the playoffs.
U Mumba’s promising season has come to a screeching half after two lackluster performance in the their last two outings. Two defeats by a combined margin of 27 points has tanked their league position and their score difference. Nothing short of massive victories in their next two matches will help their cause in their bid for a playoff spot. A defeat, or even a tie, will end their campaign, meaning U Mumba have to be perfect in their final two matches to stand of chance of earning a spot in the top 6.
U.P. Yoddha vs U Mumba head-to-head
U Mumba and U.P. Yoddha’s head-to-head series is tied at 3-3. The two teams shared the spoils in their first meeting this season, which was incidentally the first time they have played out a tie.
Match 125: Bengaluru Bulls vs Haryana Steelers
The Bengaluru Bulls have spent the entire season in the top six but could lose their spot soon. Two wins in their last seven matches have given teams below them the chance to catch them on the points table. Bengaluru sit sixth, only a point clear of Gujarat Giants and four clear of Puneri Paltan. Both teams have a game in hand. The Bulls will play their last game of the league stage tonight. A defeat would all but end their campaign, making this a must-win game for the former champions.
Four wins in their last five matches have seen Haryana Steelers climb to fourth on the points table. The Steelers have a great chance of finishing in the top two, provided they win their next two matches. Raider Ashish, who was drafted into the starting lineup late into the season, has been a revelation. The youngster has scored 48 points in the Steelers' last five matches, with 38 coming in the last three. In Vikash Kandola, Ashish, an excellent defence and a strong bench, the Steelers have it all to go all the way this season.
Bengaluru Bulls vs Haryana Steelers head-to-head
The Bengaluru Bulls hold a 3-2 lead in their head-to-head series against the Haryana Steelers. The teams last met on New Year’s Eve, where Bengaluru emerged victors.
Match 126: Dabang Delhi vs Patna Pirates
One win in five matches hasn’t affected Dabang Delhi’s league position, but has given the chance for teams below them to catch up and potentially usurp them from second place on the points table. Delhi were trounced 44-28 in their previous outing, as their defence dropped another dud performance, scoring just seven tackle points. Naveen Kumar sat out the entire second half, putting immense pressure on Vijay to keep the scoreboard ticking. Delhi’s defence and Naveen’s health have been their Achilles heel this season. Delhi need to win both matches to ensure they finish second, which could come in handy during the playoffs.
The Patna Pirates are the team to beat in vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8. Seven straight wins, a 75% win rate this season and a scarcely believable score difference of +120, Patna are dominating the league like few others rosters ever have. The Pirates’ defence is averaging 12.15 tackle points per game, the third-most in the history of vivo Pro Kabaddi, behind U Mumba’s defensive units from Season 6 and Season 2. Led by Mohammadreza Chiyaneh, who will likely take home the Best Defender crown in his maiden vivo PKL campaign, Patna’s ability to turn the game with their defence is unmatched. Patna need four more wins to match U Mumba’s all-time record of 11 straight wins. An 11th straight win for the Pirates would only be possible in the vivo PKL final, meaning they have can equal the record on the day they can win their fourth title.
Dabang Delhi vs Patna Pirates head-to-head
Patna Pirates have won seven and lost five of their 12 matches against Dabang Delhi. One game between the two sides has finished in a tie. Delhi beat Patna 32-29 in their first meeting this season.
PKL Schedule for Thursday, February 17
Match 124: U.P. Yoddha vs U Mumba, 7:30 PM IST
Match 125: Bengaluru Bulls vs Haryana Steelers, 8:30 PM IST
Match 126: Dabang Delhi vs Patna Pirates, 9:30 PM IST
Where to watch vivo Pro Kabaddi live?
Catch all the LIVE action from vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8 on the Star Sports Network and LIVE streaming on Disney+Hotstar.