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Clash of former champions.
Bengaluru Bulls will win.
Tournament: Pro Kabaddi (PKL) | Venue: Arena by TransstadiaBet Now
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Former Champions Bengaluru Bulls started off in style against the Gujarat Giants in their first match but faltered in the second half to lose by mere 3 points. It was an anti-thesis of sorts for the Bulls as they were all-out twice in the second half. None of their raiders could score a Super 10 while their defense succumbed to the spicy raids of Sonu.
Bulls will have to pull up their socks in their second encounter with the Bengal Warriors. Though it is very early in the season to write off any team, the Bulls depend on momentum. They need to maintain the intensity through the 40 minutes to win games consistently.
The Bengal Warriors do not look very strong on paper, but the real action happens on the mat. The young Bengal defense will try and exploit the lack of coordination between the Bulls. Star raider Maninder can pose a threat to the Bulls once he goes berserk.
This might be a high scoring game as both teams do not have a great defense. Unfortunately, the Bengaluru raiders too could not earn much in their first game. Bengaluru Bulls need to show some tactical brilliance against the Warriors to earn their first points of the season. The Bengal Warriors will aim to push the Bulls to the brink and start their campaign with a win.
Former Champions were a shadow of themselves in their first game against the Gujarat Giants. They started off in style taking a lead of 6 points in the first half. They also inflicted 2 all-outs on their opponents. The Bengaluru fans were elated as raiders Bharat Hooda and Vikash Kandola pressed the right buttons. The Bulls earned 8 tackle points in the first half and it seemed to be a fairly-tale beginning to their campaign.
Unfortunately the Bulls lost steam in the second half succumbing to some tactical brilliance by Gujarat captain Fazel Attrachali and their young raider Sonu. The loss in their first game will hurt Bengaluru though they are too good to be lose their track so easily.
Their trio of raiders, Vikash Kandola, Bharat Hooda and Neeraj Narwal are extremely talented as they need resonate together. Bengaluru Bulls worked well as a defensive unit with corners Saurabh Nandal, Aman and covers Surjit Singh and Vishal combined effectively in the first game. They collectively earned 12 tackle points in the match. Unfortunately the Bulls have double trouble ahead of their second game. Not only have they lost their opening match, but they do not have a great record against the Bengal Warriors.
Bengaluru has won just 9 out of their 20 encounters. They lost both their league matches to the Warriors last year and this is a cause of concern for their fans. Their biggest drawback in the first match was they were able to execute just 13 successful raids out of their total 39. Momentum is the key for Bengaluru in a long season as they need to win against young teams like the Warriors as their encounters with bigger teams may be tougher.
Another issue which was exposed was that the Bulls were forced to work on their Do or Die raids under pressure. If the Warriors are able to exploit this, Bengaluru may be heading towards anther debacle.
Champions of Season 6 struggled throughout season 9 as they could win just 8 out of their 22 games. It will be an uphill task for the Warriors as they have gone for a completely new squad. They did not retain any player from their earlier team and went after youngsters during the auctions. They bought star Maninder Singh for over 2 Cr while it cost them over 35 lakh to get back Shrikant Jadhav.
Apart from these known players, the Warriors have invested in youngsters who have been consistent in the domestic circuit. Coach Bhaskaran has plans chalked out with Maninder and Shrikant at the helm of affairs complemented by players like R Guhan, Suyog Gaikar, Nitin Kumar, Vaibhav Gajre and Nitin Rawal. We may see a completely new Bengal Warriors as they get ready to take on the star studded Bengaluru Bulls.
The Warriors struggled with their defense throughout season 9 conceding 816 points in 22 games. They conceded 32 all-outs which averages to almost 1.5 all-outs every match. Their success in raids was just about 40% while their average tackle percentage was around 37. This was the reason for their struggles which forced 11 defeats in season 9.
The Bengal Warriors will be aiming for an elevated performance. Hence the team and the coach has gambled on a lot of youngsters.
Maninder Singh is their Super star who has won many matches for them. He scored 240 points last season which included 14 Super 10’s and 11 Super raids which was the highest by any raider. Coach Bhaskaran has added another 9 raiders apart from Maninder in this squad to reduce his burden. The team also has some young specialist defenders like left corners Aditya Shinde and Akshay Kumar. But the cover positions are vulnerable as Bengal Warriors does not have many specialists. Considering a long season, this might the weak spot that their opponents may exploit.
Interestingly the Bengal Warriors enjoy a better record against the Bengaluru Bulls winning 11 out of their 20 encounters. They beat the Bulls twice last season only to finish 8th at the end of the league. The Warriors will look forward for a feisty start to the season as they take on the raging Bulls.
The clash of former champions is expected to be a high intensity, high scoring match. Both teams have significant chinks in their armor. Bengaluru Bulls need to improve their raiding success rate. The Trio of Bharat Hooda, Neeraj Narwal and Viskash Kandola will trouble the young Bengal defense and take early lead. Left corner Saurabh Nandal and Right cover Surjeet will target Maninder so that they can keep him off the mat for a long duration.
Bengal Warriors will hope to unleash raider Maninder so that they take an early lead. Bengal will hope that their young defense will perform with any anxiety. Right corner Shubham Shinde and all-rounder Nitin Rawal will perform well while guiding the other defenders. They will target Bull’s raider Bharat Hooda to regulate his scoring. Bengal will try to slow down the game while the Bulls will try and rush through their raids.
Overall this will be an entertaining match as both teams have unique and different strategies and philosophies. The team which makes the minimum unforced errors will win.
Bengaluru Bulls will win.
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