Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], February 2 (ANI): Day 5 of Rivalry Week in Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 will see Dabang Delhi KC take on Jaipur Pink Panthers in the first match of the night.
Dabang have found their mojo again after a few hiccups in the absence of star raider Naveen Kumar. They will, however, be up against a Jaipur team who thwarted Patna Pirates in their previous outing. The second game of the night will see Telugu Titans confront Tamil Thalaivas in the Southern Derby.
Dabang Delhi KC suffered a minor blip in the matches that followed Naveen Kumar's knee injury. But the team of experienced stars have found their footing and suddenly look favourites to clinch a playoff spot. Manjeet Chhillar has been at his best in the cover positions while Sandeep Narwal and Vijay have donned the all-rounder roles to perfection.
The Delhi defence will face a difficult test against Jaipur's Arjun Deshwal and Deepak Hooda. The former has been outstanding for the Pink Panthers in Season 8. His success ratio in Do-or-Die has made him one of the best raiders in the country and will be Jaipur's key weapon against Delhi.
Joginder Narwal, who mans the left corner, and Jeeva Kumar in the right cover position, aren't the fastest on the mat, which should give Arjun opportunities to exploit. Deepak Hooda will need to attack the other end of the mat so that Delhi have no time to settle into a defensive pattern.
Jaipur's defence has been jittery this season but against Patna, they were incredibly effective. Sandeep Dhull, Vishal and Sahul Kumar will provide another stellar performance to stop the young raiding duo of Ashu Malik and Neeraj Narwal. Both youngsters are slowly finding the rhythm and will pose a threat if allowed to settle.
Tamil Thalaivas have been amongst the unluckiest sides in the tournament with 6 ties and a few last-raid defeats. Coach Uday Kumar will be hoping his team can iron out these mistakes in the dying minutes to win the upcoming matches. A victory will be important for them to stay in the hunt for a playoff place.
Telugu Titans have been poor throughout the season, partly due to injuries to key players such as Siddharth Desai, Rohit Kumar and Rajnish. The teams shared the spoils in a highly entertaining 40-40 tie in the reverse fixture but Thalaivas go into the match as the favourites. They thrashed Bengaluru Bulls in their previous outing with the defensive combination of Sagar and M Abishek doing wonders.
Right corner Sagar will be up against Titans' Adarsh T which should set up an interesting personal battle. Raider Adarsh and defender Sandeep Kandola have been the only consistent performers for the Titans.
They have had the advantage of a week-long rest which should have helped the injury-laden team energise. The Titans, languishing at the bottom of the table, are pretty much out of the race for a playoff spot but they still can fight for their pride and bragging rights in the Southern Derby. (ANI)