Wednesday night saw some brilliant kabaddi being played as U Mumba showed what a good side they can be on their day by beating Haryana Steelers by 6 points. The home crowd will expect another dominating performance from them in their last home game against Jaipur Pink Panthers on Thursday. Meanwhile, Tamil Thalaivas will look to avenge their loss to Telugu Titans earlier in the season as they take on the Rahul Chaudhari-led side in what will be the first match of the evening. Here is a look at how the teams stack up.
MATCH 54 (Zone B) Telugu Titans vs Tamil Thalaivas
Head-to-head: Telugu Titans 1–0 Tamil Thalaivas
After a good show against U Mumba in Lucknow, Telugu Titans faltered again against home team U.P. Yoddha in their next game. On Thursday, they will face an equally shaky-looking Tamil Thalaivas outfit who have failed to make a mark in their debut season of VIVO Pro Kabaddi. The last time these two teams met at Hyderabad, home team Telugu Titans got the better of the Thalaivas in a closely-fought tie. This time, Ajay Thakur’s Thalaivas will hope to avenge the earlier loss and rise to the fifth spot on the Zone B leaderboard.
Tamil Thalaivas have been fighting till the end but have been unable to find the finishing blow. Thakur hitting good form is great news, however, it is imperative that K. Prapanjan, Vineet Kumar or Korean Dong Geon Lee provide him with able support, if the Thalaivas are to make a match of it. Young defenders such as Darshan J. and C. Arun have been doing well in the company of Amit Hooda in recent games, and the trio will look to do even better. The trump card for the Thalaivas, though, might just be all-rounder D. Pradap who has been the find of the season for them.
Meanwhile, the over-dependence of Telugu Titans on their captain Rahul Chaudhari has been exposed this season. The inability of other raiders to revive him has gone on to hurt the team in a big way. After a lot of shuffling in defence, the combination of Vishal Bhardwaj and Sombir at last seems to be working for them. The introduction of the Iranian Farhad Milaghardan in recent games has also added to their all-round strength. It’s high time the Titans started winning consistently or soon they will find themselves out of the reckoning.
MATCH 55 (Zone A) U Mumba vs Jaipur Pink Panthers
Head-to-head: U Mumba 5–4 Jaipur Pink Panthers
U Mumba will look to continue the form they have found in Wednesday’s game and score their second home win in as many days as they take on a strong Jaipur Pink Panthers unit. It is an equally important game for Jaipur as a victory here will mean they are catapulted straight to the second position on the Zone A leaderboard.
U Mumba have struggled to find a good defensive combination this season. The lack of corner-to-corner co-ordination in defence has resulted in them relying heavily on Surinder Singh’s dashes. They will have to come up with a good defensive plan involving Kuldeep Singh and Hadi Oshtorak to support the raiding duo of Anup Kumar and Kashiling Adake, if they hope to beat Jaipur Pink Panthers.
Jaipur Pink Panthers have been in prime form of late even in the absence of their captain Manjeet Chhillar. Stand-in captain Jasvir Singh has been leading from the front, single-handedly taking out the opposition defence. Young Pawan Kumar and Sunil Siddhgavali have also risen to the challenge which bodes well for the team’s future. In the current scenario, they look like a strong unit and it will be a tough match for U Mumba to win.
Catch the live action from 7.30 pm IST onwards on the Star Sports network and hotstar.