Following their victory against Jaipur Pink Panthers, Puneri Paltan will look for their second successive home victory when they take on U Mumba in the ‘Maharashtra Derby’ in Match 26 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune on Saturday.

Having defeated Haryana Steelers in their previous match, U Mumba are unbeaten in this season’s league and will look to keep their winning run going. They will take inspiration from the fact that they have a very good record against the home side and will look to use this to their advantage. A win in this game will see U Mumba reclaim the top spot in Zone A. Having drawn their first game this season, both sides will look for a victory to claim an upper hand in the rivalry.

Match 26 (Zone A): Puneri Paltan vs U Mumba

Head-to-head: Puneri Paltan 4-7 U Mumba. 1 Tie

Following their loss to Gujarat Fortunegiants in the opening game of their home leg, Puneri Paltan beat Jaipur Pink Panthers courtesy a solid defensive performance that included 6 Super Tackles. Monu justified his start by returning with 7 points. Ravi Kumar finished with a High 5, totalling 6 tackle points. He also directly affected 2 of the 6 Super Tackles. Nitin Tomar was kept quiet by Jaipur Pink Panthers, but an all-round performance ensured that they gave their home crowd much to cheer about. Puneri Paltan will hope to continue the momentum and get another victory at home.

U Mumba have made an excellent start to the season and are the only unbeaten team in Zone A. They secured a draw against Puneri Paltan in their first game and are coming off two successive victories against Haryana Steelers. Young raider Siddharth Desai continued his impressive start to the season, managing his third Super 10 in 4 games as he returned 15 raid points against Haryana Steelers. He was ably supported in the raiding department by Rohit Baliyan and Abhishek Singh. Surender Singh put in a strong performance and helped himself to 3 tackle points. U Mumba will seek to exhibit another good performance and prove themselves as strong contenders for this season with a victory against Puneri Paltan.

The big battle

Girish Maruti Ernak vs Fazel Atrachali

Two captains. Two veterans. Two among the best Left Corners in kabaddi. This battle will decide which team comes out on top. Girish Maruti Ernak has 24 tackle points so far this season and has been the mainstay of Puneri Paltan’s defence. Fazel Atrachali, with 16 tackle points is one of the league’s leading international defender and has been a rock in U Mumba’s defence this season. Both men can take down any defender and their leadership and experience will play a huge role in determining the winner of the game.

Key Khiladi

Nitin Tomar - Puneri Paltan

Though he was kept quiet by Jaipur Pink Panthers, Nitin Tomar has returned 65 points in 6 games this season. Puneri Paltan will be hoping he continues his red-hot form as he is only getting better by the game.

Siddharth Desai - U Mumba

With 15 raid points U Mumba’s previous game, Siddharth Desai became the fastest player in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history to get 50 raid points, having managed the feat in just 4 games, one quicker than former U Mumba captain Anup Kumar. In just his debut season, Desai has excelled and shown that he belongs on the big stage. U Mumba will hope Desai carries on in the same vein and continues to win matches for the team.