On Friday, Ranchi plays host to VIVO Pro Kabaddi for the first time ever. A mega clash between the best raiders in the business - Patna Pirates’ Pardeep Narwal and Telugu Titans’ Rahul Chaudhari - will set the ball rolling at the Harivansh Tana Bhagat Indoor Stadium, while the second match of the evening features U Mumba and Gujarat Fortunegiants. Let’s see how the teams stack up against each other.
Match 78 (Zone B): Patna Pirates vs Telugu Titans
Head-to-head: Patna Pirates 5-6 Telugu Titans
Double defending champions Patna Pirates enter their first match in front of their home fans with renewed energy and as clear favourites. Currently sitting third in Zone B with 36 points from 11 matches, the astounding form that captain Pardeep Narwal is enjoying presently is their biggest weapon. However, the defence has been an area of worry for the champions and they need to fix that to cement their winning ways.
Telugu Titans, meanwhile, are now in a must-win situation for the remainder of the league stage. Having lost both their previous encounters against Patna this season, the fourth-placed team in Zone B has a huge mountain to climb tonight. Rahul Chaudhari and Nilesh Salunke have performed reasonably well but it’s the defence that has let the team down all season. On current form, the Titans’ prospects look really bleak.
Match 79 (Zone A): U Mumba vs Gujarat Fortunegiants
Head-to-head: U Mumba 0-1 Gujarat Fortunegiants
Arguably the most consistent team in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history, U Mumba enter tonight’s match on the back of four consecutive wins, with the team coming together wonderfully under Captain Cool Anup Kumar. Currently placed third in Zone A with 39 points from 13 matches, the Mumbai outfit has been unstoppable recently, especially in attack. Kashiling Adake and Shrikant Jadhav are in glistening form having picked up Super a 10 in their last match, while young Surinder Singh has been a revelation at the back. However, they will do well to remember what happened the last time these two teams met.
Gujarat Fortunegiants had been Zone A leaders until yesterday when they were toppled by Harayana Steelers. The debutants’ form has seen a slight dip in their previous two matches. The otherwise solid defence, headed by the Iranian pair of Fazel Atrachali and Abozar Mighani, has failed to imitate their initial dominance recently, while the raiding department has also failed to fire. The Fortunegiants need to do well in all departments to get another win against the Maharashtra side this season.
Catch the action live on the Star Sports network and hotstar from 7.30 pm onwards.