Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], January 28 (ANI): Season 7 runners-up Dabang Delhi KC will be eyeing to halt their bad run of form when they take on Gujarat Giants on Saturday in Pro Kabaddi League Season 8.
Delhi have struggled with the absence of Naveen Kumar and will be hoping their experienced stars can conjure some magic against the seasoned Gujarat defence. The second game of the night will see Bengal Warriors lock horns with Telugu Titans.
Naveen Kumar's long absence has definitely hampered Delhi's plans. They dominated the initial stages of the league but are now fighting to stay in the top four. Dabang have lost 3 of their last 5 matches but it seems there is very little coach Krishan Kumar Hooda can do to inspire them.
He has tried various combinations, but Naveen's void has been too big to fill. Sandeep Narwal and Vijay have been the only reliable performers with the former showing his brute strength to help Delhi stay in the fight.
Against Gujarat, Sandeep Narwal will have to be in top form once again. The unpredictability of his raiding style and his ability to think like a defender makes him a wily character on the mat. But Gujarat's cover defenders Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal will definitely know him well, having been in the kabaddi circuit for many years. They will advise their teammates to not commit to advanced tackles.
Coach Manpreet Singh will know that his Gujarat side still requires a lot of tweaking, especially in the raiding department. Rakesh S has been the sole consistent raider in their ranks which should force the management into making changes.
A starting role for Ajay Kumar or Pardeep Kumar might freshen the attack and make the raiding unit difficult to decode. Delhi's defence has looked frail in the last matches in the absence of captain Joginder Narwal. Manjeet Chhillar and Jeeva Kumar have struggled against fast raiders' hand touches.
Bengal Warriors will need a flawless second half of Season 8 to ensure they remain in a position to defend their title after a jittery start. Captain Maninder Singh has led from the front with multiple Super 10s, but his teammates have often failed to support.
Luckily for coach BC Ramesh, his star Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh is slowly starting to find form. If he can provide enough backup to Maninder, Bengal will be a formidable team, especially with Ran Singh adding much-needed stability in defence.
Telugu Titans have just one victory in the entire season. With Siddharth Desai and Rajnish still nursing injuries, the raiding responsibilities will once again fall on the shoulders of Adarsh T and Ankit Beniwal. Both have shown glimpses of their immense potential, but the Titans will need more consistency to stay in the games.
They usually start the match poorly and then try to play catchup, often running out of time. Left corner Sandeep Kandola will need an error-free night to cage Bengal's tiger Maninder Singh. The Warriors are the team with momentum having lost just 1 in their last 5 matches but Kabaddi is a sport of surprises. (ANI)