League-toppers Patna Pirates will take on UP Warriors while Dabangg Delhi will take on Bengaluru Bulls in the semifinals of Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 on Wednesday.
Patna dominated the league stage through collective efforts with impressive performances in defense. But they will face a familiar enemy of UP warrior Pardeep Narwal, who won three titles with the Patna team.
Season 7 runners-up Delhi will be hoping for two consecutive finals but they face a tough challenge from the Bulls. The Bengaluru-based team has shown that they are more than Pawan Sehrawat in recent outings and secondary raiders Bharat and Chandran Ranjit are looking for form.
The winners of both matches will face each other in the grand finale on Friday.
All eyes will be on record breaker Pardeep Narwal in the first semifinal. Star Rider has been in good shape in recent matches, turning KG battles into one-sided matters with its huge multi-point raids. There is no doubt that he will be the main Trump card of the warrior against Patna.
Patna topped the league stage and advanced directly to the semifinals. They are a team in form and have a dangerous defense led by Irani Mohammad Reza Shadloi.
The match can be decided based on how well Patna handles Pradeep’s raids. The left rider will not face Shadlui directly but players like Neeraj Kumar and Sajin C should be careful not to jump in the early tackle.
Pune paid the price for their eagerness by accepting a 5-point super raid against Pardeep who turned the game around in the first eliminator match of the playoffs.
Surender Gill is a great deputy in the attack for the warrior while his famous corner combination of Sumit and Nitesh Kumar is also looking deadly.
It will be interesting to see how Patna takes shape in this attack. Tendulkar should be a favorite considering his rich form. But coach Ram Mehr Singh may choose veteran Monu Goyat as the second option in the attack instead of the impressive Guman Singh. The two teams won one match each when they came face to face in the league stage.
The second semifinal between Delhi and Bengaluru will not be just about the two best raiders in the country – Naveen Kumar and Pawan Sehrawat. In Naveen’s absence, the experienced Delhi stars realized their full potential by showing their potential like Manjit Chhillar and Sandeep Narwal.
Similarly, the Bengaluru defense and secondary riders have faced a challenge in their recent outings by easing the pressure from the wind.
The remaining raiders will again need to inflict maximum damage on the opponents. Naveen’s fitness will be a major concern but Delhi got extra rest days as they finished second in the league stage and advanced to the semifinals.
In Chandran Ranjit and Vijay, the Bulls have a strong raiding unit to support the ‘high flyer’ Pawan Sehrawat. His corner pair of Saurabh Nandal and Aman are also in good form which has allowed cover defender Mahendra to express more.
The greatest strength of Dabangg is his experience. Manjit Chhillar, Joginder Narwal, Sandeep Narwal are all experienced stars who have gone through multiple finals in their careers. They will learn how to navigate the challenge perfectly.
In Vijay, he also has a great all-rounder to give Naveen the backup he wants.
While both teams were tied in the league stage, the Bulls won one match while the other was tied.