The penultimate day of the league stage of VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 will witness defending champions and playoff-bound Patna Pirates face Bengaluru Bulls in the opening match of the evening at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Wednesday. Hosts Puneri Paltan will then entertain Jaipur Pink Panthers, who like Bengaluru will be bowing out of the league.

Match 129 (Zone B): Patna Pirates vs Bengaluru Bulls

Head-to-head: Patna Pirates 9-2 Bengaluru Bulls

Patna will be keen on ending their last league stage match with a win having already surrendered their zone-topper hopes to Bengal Warriors. The defending champions aren’t in the best of form of late having lost their previous three encounters. The defence shares some of the blame for their worrying form, however, their raiders have also gone missing in a few matches recently. Dubki King Pardeep Narwal, who has been sensational this season, will need more support from his team if the reigning champions are to turn around this sudden blip in form as we enter the business end of the season.

Bengaluru, however, will be in a confident mood after a record-breaking encounter against U.P. Yoddha yesterday. Bengaluru registered the biggest ever win in league history against Lucknow, while skipper Rohit Kumar notched up a record 30 raid points and 32 points in total – the most ever in a single match. Ravinder Pahal and Kuldeep Singh also offer formidable threats in the Bulls defence for opposition raiders to contend with. It promises to be a cracker of a contest.

Khel Kabaddi Khiladi:

Pardeep Narwal

Pardeep Narwal will want to take Patna into the playoffs with a victory after a few lacklustre showings compared to his own lofty standards. He is the leading raider with 267 raid points and has 15 Super 10s this season.

Rohit Kumar

Rohit Kumar will be looking to pick up where he left off against U.P. Yoddha. He was in scintillating form last night and broke the 30 raid-point barrier. Rohit can expect to climb to second on the leaderboard for raid points against Patna as he looks for a 13th Super 10 of the season.

Match 130 (Zone A): Puneri Paltan vs Jaipur Pink Panthers

Head-to-head: Puneri Paltan 3-6 Jaipur Pink Panthers. 1 tie

Pune, meanwhile, have it all to play for with their top spot hopes in Zone A dangling by a thread following their defeat against Haryana last night. The hosts must win against Jaipur to have a chance of finishing at the summit of their zone. They’ll need key performers like captain Deepak Hooda, do-or-die specialist Rajesh Mondal and defender Girish Maruti Ernak to all be on song. It will also be interesting to see if Sandeep Narwal makes a return to their starting 7 and helps his side to victory.

The Panthers though will be looking to ruin Pune’s script and end what’s been a below-par season on a high. Jaipur never really got going this year with injuries to key personnel at crucial junctures of the season playing its part in their fortunes. They can, however, take heart from the unearthing of new stars in Nitin Rawal, Pawan Kumar and Tushar Patil, who’ve all put in stellar performances this season. Jaipur can be optimistic about their title prospects in the future with such talent at hand as they look to spoil Pune’s party.

Khel Kabaddi Khiladi:

Girish Maruti Ernak

The only Pune defender with more than 50 tackle points this season, Ernak will need to bring his A-game to the mat against Jaipur. He’ll be responsible for marshalling his defensive troops, and he can also pull off the occasional raid as his super raid against Haryana showed.

Nitin Rawal

One of the bright spots in Jaipur’s campaign, Nitin Rawal will have a role to play in both attack and defence against Pune. He is second on the leaderboard for all-rounders with 83 points and will be looking to make a statement in his last match of the season.

Catch the action live on the Star Sports network and hotstar from 7.30 pm onwards.