VIVO Pro Kabaddi action moves from Greater Noida to the entertainment capital of India as U Mumba host Jaipur Pink Panthers at the Dome@ NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Friday.
This match will be the second meeting between the two sides after U Mumba rallied late in the first match to secure their first win in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 by a scoreline of 39-32. Siddharth Desai starred for U Mumba scoring 13 raid points while substitute Rohit Baliyan scored seven raid points in a brilliant display.
A victory against Jaipur Pink Panthers would take U Mumba on top of Zone A right at the beginning of their home leg, making this a high-stakes encounter for the home team.
Match 54 (Zone A): U Mumba vs. Jaipur Pink Panthers
Head-to-head: U Mumba 7 – 5 Jaipur Pink Panthers. 1 tie.
U Mumba have had a stellar campaign so far in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6. Since their tie in the opening game against arch-rivals Puneri Paltan, they have managed a hat-trick of wins on either side of a defeat against the same side. U Mumba finally triumphed over their Maharashtra rivals with a 31-22 scoreline in their previous match. The more impressive part about this victory was that U Mumba did it without Desai, proving they have a deep squad and can plug any gaps that may appear.
Jaipur Pink Panthers managed to curb their run of four straight defeats with a 38-32 victory over Haryana Steelers in their last fixture. Deepak Niwas Hooda starred for his side, scoring 12 raid points and, in the process, became the first Jaipur Pink Panthers player to score a Super 10 this campaign. Right Corner Mohit Chhillar and Left Cover Young Chang Ko combined to score seven tackle points as they managed to neutralise opposition captain Monu Goyat. Despite that victory, Jaipur Pink Panthers trail Gujarat Fortunegiants, who currently occupy the third spot in Zone A, by 17 points. This makes victory against U Mumba imperative to close the gap on the three teams in the Super Playoffs spot.
The big battle –
Anup Kumar vs. Fazel Atrachali
It will be an emotional night for the crowd at the Dome@ NSCI SVP Stadium as Anup Kumar will take to the mat for the first time in Mumbai as part of the Jaipur Pink Panthers roster. Kumar led U Mumba to three straight finals in the first three seasons of VIVO Pro Kabaddi and also delivered the title in Season 2. He is also the all-time leader in points scored at the venue with 190 total points in 27 matches at an average of over 7 points per game. Kumar will be aiming to get a victory under his belt; his 19th at the Dome. But this time it will have to be against U Mumba.
So far the decision of handing Atrachali the U Mumba captaincy has paid dividends as the defender has led his side to six wins in eight matches, while losing only a solitary game. Atrachali’s own form has been stellar and he is one of only three players averaging over four tackle points a match. Atrachali will be keen to add to his 33 tackle points, which currently place him joint-second in the Best Defender’s list.
In 6 matches, Kumar has managed only 5 raid points against Atrachali, while the defender has been able to get a tackle on him on 9 occasions. This tilts the scales slightly in Atrachali’s favour. But the two have never faced off at Kumar’s favourite hunting ground in Mumbai which makes this encounter all the more interesting.
Key Khiladi –
Siddharth Desai – U Mumba
A lot can’t be said that hasn’t already been said about Siddharth Desai’s historic rookie campaign. With 97 raid points in just seven games, Desai leads the league in average raid points per match with 13.86 and also has the joint-most Super 10s with six. Three more raid points against Jaipur Pink Panthers will give him the record of least number of games taken to reach 100 points, breaking the mark previously set by Rahul Chaudhari.
Deepak Hooda – Jaipur Pink Panthers
Deepak Hooda had led the way in offence for Jaipur Pink Panthers, scoring a team-leading 42 raid points in seven matches. He also became the first player for his side to manage a Super 10 this campaign in their victory over Haryana Steelers. While that performance will give Hooda a lot of confidence, he will have to be at his very best against a U Mumba defence who rank third in the league in avg. tackle points with 11.38 in Season 6 so far.