VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 will see two big fixtures as Tamil Thalaivas will play host to three-time time champions Patna Pirates while the first Maharashtra Derby of the season will see Fazel Atrachali’s U Mumba clash with Girish Maruti Ernak’s Puneri Paltan in a battle of the defences. The contests promise a lot of excitement and here is what you can expect:

Match 1 – Tamil Thalaivas vs Patna Pirates

Head-to-head: Tamil Thalaivas 1 – 2 Patna Pirates

The season will kick off with hosts Tamil Thalaivas taking on three-time champions Patna Pirates in the season opener. It will be an interesting contest particularly keeping in mind that Patna Pirates will come into the match on the back of a five-game unbeaten streak in the closing stages of Season 5 which saw them lift the trophy. But interestingly their last loss came at the hand of Tamil Thalaivas in Match 124 of Season 5. The Thalaivas also hold an advantage as the host team has won opening game in four out of the five seasons held so far.

With big names like Ajay Thakur, Manjeet Chhillar and Jasvir Singh in their ranks, the Thalaivas have a bank of experience to draw from. They also have good pressure raiders like Sukesh Hegde and Surjeet Singh to further strengthen the raiding department. In defence Amit Hooda will combine with youngsters Darshan J. and C. Arun, both of whom impressed in Season 5. All-rounder D. Pradap also displayed a good fighting spirit in his Season 5 debut and it will be interesting to see how he develops in the coming season.

Patna Pirates will once again look to captain Pardeep Narwal to steer their ship. If he strikes form early, then it will spell doom for the other teams. In the absence of the impressive Monu Goyat, Deepak Narwal and Surender Singh will be filling in his shoes as the secondary raiders. Manish, Jaideep, Jawahar Dagar and Vijay will once again be leading the defence for the Pirates and the addition of Kuldeep Singh will give the defence that bit of added strength that the team has been missing in the previous season.

The big battle

Manjeet Chhillar vs Pardeep Narwal

When the man with the most Tackle Points in the history of VIVO Pro Kabaddi will be up against the man with the most Raid Points in a single VIVO Pro Kabaddi season, things are sure to get heated. According to recent form Narwal holds the edge but one can never count out a class act like the One-Man-Army Chhillar.

Key Khiladi

Ajay Thakur – Tamil Thalaivas

The Tamil Thalaivas captain was the third most successful raider in Season 5 with 213 Raid Points in 22 matches and was well known for his never-say-die spirit.

Deepak Narwal – Patna Pirates

Deepak Narwal had a wonderful campaign with Bengal Warriors in Season 5 and his return to Patna Pirates shows just how much confidence the champions have in his ability. His skilful raiding could see him become more than just a supporting raider to Pardeep Narwal if he gets stuck in.

Match 2 – Puneri Paltan vs U Mumba

Head-to-head: Puneri Paltan 4 – 7 U Mumba

The Maharashtra Derby will be the other headlining event of Day 1 with both teams getting a change in leadership. Girish Maruti Ernak has proven to be an invaluable defender but he will want to prove himself as leader early to get rid of any nerves he might have as a new captain. Fazel Atrachali has been the Gujarat Fortunegiants captain in the second half of Season 5 but a return to U Mumba will bring a lot of expectations and he will be under a bit of pressure to deliver on that front.

Puneri Paltan have retained most of their core unit in the form of Sandeep Narwal, Rajesh Mondal and Girish Maruti Ernak. They have also shown confidence in youngsters Monu, Rinku Narwal, who will be hoping to impress in defence, and Akshay Jadhav, a Do-or-Die specialist raider who will want to become more than just that in this season. Nitin Tomar coming into the side will be a huge boost for their confidence and Deepak Kumar Dahiya will give a nice balance to the raiding unit.

U Mumba have a stacked defensive line up with Fazel Atrachali and Dharmaraj Cheralathan in the Corners and young Surinder Singh manning the Cover position along with the seasoned Rohit Rana. Their raiding unit has reliable raiders like Abolfazl Maghsodlou, Darshan Kadian, R. Sriram and Rohit Baliyan who will be waiting for a chance to prove themselves and grab the chance to be a team’s primary raider.

The big battle

Fazel Atrachali vs Girish Maruti Ernak

In a battle where two strong defences will clash, the two captain, Fazel Atrachali and Girish Maruti Ernak will be in the spotlight, both as players and leaders. Atrachali has ample experience over Ernak but the youngster outdid Atrachali by a big margin in terms of Tackle Points in Season 5.

 Key Khiladi

Dharmaraj Cheralathan – U Mumba

Dharmaraj Cheralathan will be playing against his former team Puneri Paltan for the first time this season. With Fazel Atrachali securing one Corner, Cheralathan will want to ensure no easy points are taken in the opposite Corner either.

Sandeep Narwal – Puneri Paltan

An all-rounder par excellence, Sandeep Narwal was Season 5’s second most successful all-rounder and his strong holds will be a vital component of the Puneri Paltan defence in all of Season 6.