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Race for the play-off begins-Haryana Steelers vs U Mumba.
Haryana Steelers will win.
Tournament: Pro Kabaddi (PKL) | Venue: The Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre, Bengaluru.Bet Now
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The business end of the tournament has heated the race for the play-off as we saw U Mumba working overtime to beat the Bengal Warriors in their last game. One could feel the sense of urgency in U Mumba as they have realized that they do not have many games left to experiment. They were proactive and aggressive as they won the game by 10 points. On the other hand Haryana Steelers had a bout of complacency as they lost to the Puneri Paltan in their last game. Though they remained at the 3rd spot in the points table, it was a wake-up call for them. Mumba are placed 6th in the points table and need to win all their games to stay in the race for the next game. Haryana Steelers have been an enthusiastic team as they have travelled the distance from the bottom of the points table to the top 3. Considering the desperation that U Mumba displayed against the Warriors, they will be up for a fight with the Steelers. Though Steelers has a balanced attack, kabaddi can bring out the best and worst out of the players.
One of the most vibrant sides in the tournament, the Haryana Steelers has earned their position in the top 3. They were stuck at the 8th and 9th position in the points table in the first half of the tournament. But they made some subtle changes to their squad and strategy and they slowly inched towards the top. The last few games have been phenomenal for them as they had a hat-trick of victories. They are placed 3rd in the points table after playing 19 games earning 58 points. They had a blemish in the last game against the Puneri Paltan as they lost by 18 points. This disturbed their winning streak as well as their score difference. They were caught off-guard as their raiders were specifically trapped by the Pune defence while the Steelers defenders were hypnotized by the Pune raiders. Their defenders could only score 4 tackle points in the entire game. This is an area of concern. Though their top defender Jaideep has been one of the best in the tournament, the Steelers cannot afford such break downs henceforth.
Top raider “Gaze” Vikash Kandola has been conducting some exciting raids and has earned 156 points from 19 games, while defender Jaideep has conducted 55 successful tackles.
The entire Steeler defence will have to build a wall of steel as they take on U Mumba who looked extremely aggressive in their last game. The Steelers tied their last against U Mumba earlier in the month of January 2022. Though that was a low scoring game, the Haryana Steelers will need to be alert and cannot lose steam in the match.
They have support in the form of raiders Ashish and Vinay, though it will be interesting to see if raider Meetu will be fit for the game or not. Coach Rakesh Kumar will need to counsel his wards and make sure that they play their natural game and not get complacent as they got against Puneri Paltan.
At last U Mumba woke up as they beat the Bengal Warriors in their last game. This was reminiscent of the way they use to play in the first 3 seasons. They were out of the top 6 when they took on the Warriors and now they are placed 6th in the points table after playing 18 games. They still need to win all their remaining games so that they consolidate their position and remain in contention for the next stage. It was a delight to see Sultan Fazel Attrachali and company fighting it aggressively with a sense of urgency. The match against the Warriors saw Fazel diving and tackling fearlessly, so much so that in one of the tackles he unknowingly hung on to fellow Iranian Nabibakh’s shorts.
U Mumba have got back their zing as they played aggressively. Fazel Attrachali scored 8 points, the same as raider Abhishek. This is the Fazel we all have known. He was effective through the season but his earnings were very low. they will have to continue with the same strategy in all their remaining games.
Right corner Rinku has been one of their best defenders and he too scored 5 points in the last match. The lethal combo of left corner Fazel and right corner Rinku can make life difficult for any opposition raider. U Mumba has 3 more games after this which they need to win. Raiders Abhishek and Ajith have been working in tandem to earn regularly. If the Mumba defence is able to contribute, only then they can win games. This has not been the trend for them through the season, but looks like they have realized it due to the pressure of the knock out stage. They will look forward to exploit the Haryana Steelers as they lost their last game to Pune. The journey for all the teams will get tougher this week.
This will be one of the most entertaining matches of the season, as both teams will play aggressively. U Mumba was high on emotions in their last game and they tackled fearlessly. They were rewarded for this strategy and they will continue to target Vikash Kandola in the same way. Defenders Rinku and Fazel look set for the hunt, but 2 games in 2 days might just tire them out. The Steelers will come back strongly after their debacle in the last game. If Vikash Kandola can avoid the trap set by U Mumba, he will be unstoppable. Defenders Jaipdeep and Mohit will have to lead by example and avoid instinctive advanced tackles. Steelers will expect veteran Surender Nada to be fit as his absence was felt against Puneri Paltan. Expect a high intensity game with lot of cards being shown by the umpires. This is the race for the play-off and U Mumba would like to steal this game from the Steelers.
Haryana Steelers will win.
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