Playing at home for the last time, Puneri Paltan take on U.P. Yoddha in Match 32 of the Inter-Zone Challenge Week at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Wednesday. Puneri Paltan will look to finish their home leg with a win and consolidate top spot in Zone A and will take inspiration from the fact that they have never lost to U.P. Yoddha in the 2 games they have played so far.
After winning their first game, U.P. Yoddha have been winless for four games, suffering three defeats and drawing the other. They will look to get back to winning ways and kickstart their season as they bid to qualify for the Super Playoffs for the second season in a row.
Match 32 (Inter-Zone Challenge Week): Puneri Paltan vs U.P. Yoddha
Head-to-head: Puneri Paltan 2-0 U.P. Yoddha
Following three successive wins at home, Puneri Paltan suffered a 31-36 loss to Tamil Thalaivas in their previous game. Their offence has been led by Nitin Tomar and he has been well supported by More G B, who managed a Super 10 against Tamil Thalaivas, and Monu. They have been strong in defence as well led exemplarily by veteran Girish Maruti Ernak with youngsters Ravi Kumar, Shubham Shinde and Akshay Jadhav playing their parts. Puneri Paltan will hope their young stars keep performing as they have been as they look for a win in their final game at home.
U.P. Yoddha secured a 40-40 tie against Bengal Warriors in their previous game prior to which they had suffered 3 successive losses. They have had excellent individual performances though. Prashanth Kumar Rai has led their offence and had 13 raid points in the last game. He has been ably supported by skipper Rishank Devadiga and Shrikant Jadhav throughout U.P. Yoddha’s campaign so far. Their inexperienced defence has performed well as well with corners Sagar B Krishna and Nitesh Kumar leading the way for them.
The big battle
Girish Maruti Ernak vs Rishank Devadiga
Rishank Devadiga has managed 38 raid points in 5 matches and will have to put in a big performance against a tight Puneri Paltan defence. Having been winless for four matches, U.P. Yoddha will look to their captain to lead by example and kickstart a good run of results. The leading defender this year, Girish Maruti Ernak has returned 29 tackle points this season and has shown exemplary leadership skills as well. Capable of taking down any raider on his day, Ernak’s battle with Devadiga will be key in determining the outcome of the game.
Nitin Tomar- Puneri Paltan
A return of 89 points in 9 games has taken Nitin Tomar to the top of the Best Raiders list. Puneri Paltan will hope he can continue his excellent form this season. He has been exemplary in Do-or-Die raids as well, suggesting that pressure situations don’t faze him easily.
Prashanth Kumar Rai - U.P. Yoddha
After managing 13 raid points against Bengal Warriors, U.P. Yoddha will look to Prashanth Kumar Rai to deliver another big performance. He is one of the raiding trio that keeps the U.P. Yoddha scoreboard ticking and his recent form makes him the raider for the opposition to keep an eye on.