Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], January 21 (ANI): The fourth Triple Panga of Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 will see three-time champions Patna Pirates battle Puneri Paltan on Saturday.
The match will be followed by U Mumba's showdown against Telugu Titans, who recently won their first match of the tournament. Jaipur Pink Panthers will lock horns with Tamil Thalaivas in the final game of Triple Panga night.
Patna have struggled in their recent matches, largely due to a defence lacking the usual confidence. Coach Ram Mehar Singh likes his team to have an aggressive approach in defence, but the absence of right-corner Sunil has clearly affected their confidence.
Mohammadreza Shadloui will need more help from the right side, especially against Pune's raiding trio of Aslam Inamdar, Nitin Tomar and Mohit Goyat.
Pune's versatile set of raiders have performed admirably this season, but their defence has been a major area of concern. The experienced corner combination of Baldev Singh and Vishal Bhardwaj has leaked too many points by committing to difficult tackles.
Both teams will be desperate for the win - Patna to stay in the battle for the top spot, Pune to ensure they remain in the reckoning for a playoff berth. Patna will be praying both Monu Goyat and Sunil recover in time for the crucial showdown.
Kabaddi is a game of momentum and therefore it would be unwise to discard Titans' capabilities despite just winning one game the entire season. The young Titans overcame a difficult Jaipur Pink Panthers in the previous match and will aim to do the same against U Mumba on Saturday.
Rajnish and Adarsh will be the key for Titans in the raids once again. There is also news that Siddharth Desai has completed his recovery and could feature at least as a substitute against Mumbai. Their biggest challenge will be sorting out an eager defence. Prince D, Surinder Singh and Akash Choudhary have all been enticed by the raiders to make errors - something coach Jagdish Kumble will be hoping to iron out.
U Mumba have looked better with Ajith Kumar back on the mat. He and Abhishek Singh will be their raiding duo while Rinku and captain Fazel Atrachali will man the corners. The 'Sultan' Fazel Atrachali is yet to explode in the tournament but with the season entering its crucial stages one can expect the Irani to prove his mettle.
Thalaivas might not have the points to show for it, but they certainly have been amongst the best teams of Season 8. Their failure to convert close games to victories might come back to haunt them, however.
Manjeet and Ajinkya Pawar were effective against the Gujarat Giants, but they missed the sharpness needed in the dying minutes.
Thalaivas are certainly missing K. Prapanjan's experience on the mat with Bhavani Rajput and Athul MS failing in the role of a secondary raider. Captain Surjeet Singh had a surprisingly error-prone night against the Giants, but he will be looking forward to facing his nemesis Deepak Hooda of Jaipur. The two had an altercation when the teams met earlier this season in a 31-31 tie.
Arjun Deshwal and Deepak Hooda will need to take a cautious approach against a very effective Tamil defence with Sagar in the left corner. Their own defensive pairing of Sahul Kumar and Sandeep Dhull will need to ensure Manjeet doesn't get quick points for the Tamil team. (ANI)