Wednesday witnesses the battle of the table toppers as the Inter Zone Challenge Week continues in Mumbai with the home side U Mumba taking on Bengaluru Bulls at the Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium. Both teams are coming off wins in their previous games and the result will depend on which team can continue their momentum.
U Mumba have more often than not performed well against Bengaluru Bulls, coming out victorious in nine of their 11 encounters so far. They continued this trend in the only match the two teams clashed in last season, running away 42-30 winners. Kashiling Adake will have good memories of the match as he scored 17 raid points for U Mumba but is part of the opposition now. Surender Singh too had a good outing, managing six tackle points and a similar performance will do him good heading ahead into the season.
Match 63 (Inter Zone Challenge Week): U Mumba vs Bengaluru Bulls
Head-to-head: U Mumba 9-2 Bengaluru Bulls
After suffering two successive losses, U Mumba came back strongly with a 41-24 win against U.P. Yoddha in their previous match. Captain Fazel Atrachali and Surender Singh starred combining for 13 of the team’s 18 tackle points and will hope for another big performance against the most free-scoring team of the league. Siddharth Desai continued his prolific start to the season managing to get seven raid points and along with young Darshan Kadian will look to exploit Bengaluru Bulls’ inexperienced defence.
Having last played a game six days ago, Bengaluru Bulls will come into the clash refreshed after their win over U.P. Yoddha. Pawan Kumar Sehrawat continued his extraordinary form with yet another exemplary display as he managed a fifth Super 10 for the season and he will look to exploit U Mumba’s Left-Covers. Bengaluru Bulls’ Left-Cover Mahender Singh though found some form as he returned with six tackle points and will look to neutralize the threat of Siddharth Desai who looks to be in stupendous touch.
The big battle
Fazel Atrachali vs Rohit Kumar
The battle of the two captains will be key in determining the outcome of this game. U Mumba’s skipper Fazel Atrachali sits atop the best defenders list this season and managed six tackle points in the match against U.P. Yoddha. Averaging more than a whole tackle point this season than his career average tackle points per game, Atrachali has shown that leadership has brought out the best in him. While up against Rohit Kumar, Atrachali has a 40 per cent strike rate and will look to better those figures.
Though he is Bengaluru Bulls’ second-best raider this season, Rohit has had the better of the defender so far, conceding just six tackle points while getting rid of Atrachali nine times and Bengaluru Bulls will depend on him to keep Atrachali out of the game for long periods of time if they are to have a shot at victory as the Iranian boasts of a 67 per cent tackle strike rate against them.
Siddharth Desai - U Mumba
Siddharth Desai has scored two Super 10s after coming back from injury, and that speaks volumes. He is at the forefront of U Mumba’s offence and has the ability to score multiple raid points at will. If he can use caution to match his belligerent approach, there might be no way for Bengaluru Bulls to stop the raider.
Kashiling Adake - Bengaluru Bulls
Kashiling Adake managed to score 17 raid points in this fixture last season albeit for U Mumba. With him showcasing his defensive abilities as well this season, he has quietly gone about becoming Bengaluru Bulls’ third best defender. If he can replicate his performance from last season and combine that with his defensive abilities, Bengaluru Bulls fans might be in for a treat.
Surender Singh averages six tackle points against Bengaluru Bulls while averaging 2.47 tackle points against all other teams.