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The Face-Off Between Rahul Choudhary and Pradeep Narwal
UP Yodha will win.
Tournament: Pro Kabaddi (PKL) | Venue: Shree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, BengaluruBet Now
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Both teams have played some close games over the years. While UP has won 4 out of their 7 encounters, most of the games went down the wire. The difference in the scores has been minimal. While UP Yodha finished 3rd last season, Jaipur did struggle during the mid-season and ended up finishing 8th last time.
The revelation for the Pink Panthers was the rise of young raider Arjun Deshwal who finished behind top scorer Pawan Sehrawat. Arjun scored a whopping 267 raid points which included 16 Super 10’s. But he missed a quality partner who could have supported him consistently. Hence Jaipur roped in star raider Rahul Chaudhary.
UP Yodha has maintained the same core group of players who performed exceedingly well last time. With “Dubki King” Pardeep Narwal as the main raider, Yodha has the services of Surinder Gill who ended up outperforming most of his teammates. UP has also got the experienced Nitin Tomar in their squad. Both teams have a good defense as well as some young all-rounders who could become the new stars of season 9.
Winners of the inaugural season, the Pink Panthers have never been able to recreate the same magic. Over the years they struggled to beat bigger teams as well as display consistency. But with some spirited performances last time, they have come up with a strong lineup in season 9.
Their biggest heist at the auctions was to get Rahul Chaudhary. It looks like Rahul is past his prime but he is still a force to reckon with. He is one of the few star raiders of PKL who has crossed the 1000 raid point mark. He led the Telegu Titans for a few seasons before playing for the Puneri Paltan in the last time. But he was sidelined very early in the season due to his bad form.
But this time he will team up with youngsters like Arjun Deshwal and Bhavani Rajput to lead the charge for the Pink Panthers. Jaipur also has roped in some experienced defenders this season. They have the services of Sahul Kumar as well as Sunil Kumar along with a few Indian youngsters.
Both Rahul and Sahul Kumar were part of their state team which won the gold medal at the recently conducted 36th National games. It is ironic to note that the Pink Panthers finished 8th last season despite having the second-best success rate for the raids per match as well as conceding the lowest points among all teams.
They missed out on crucial moments where their defense faltered resulting in the match slipping away. This time they seem to have learned from their mistakes. Coach Sanjeev Baliyan has all the options this season to create a lethal combination, both in raiding as well as in defense.
UP Yodha emerged as one of the finest teams last season. They finished 3rd as they displayed great teamwork and consistency. Pardeep Narwal was effective early in the season, but the moment the opposition started to trap him easily, raider Surinder Gill emerged as the savior for the Yodha. Pardeep started playing side-kick and the combination worked.
Pardeep Narwal and Surinder Gill managed 19 Super raids between them as they earned 377 raid points together. This was the foundation on which UP Yodha prospered. This time they have the services of veteran Nitin Tomar who will bolster their raiding prowess.
The defense looks sorted with Nitesh Kumar and Sumit taking care of the left corner cover area. They also have left cover Shubham Kumar who has been in good off during the national games. UP Yodha had the highest team Super tackles in the last season which helped them go all the way to the play-off.
They inflicted 35 all-outs last time but also conceded 832 points which were the 3rd highest last season. Pardeep Narwal terrorized the opposition from the 4th to the 7th season but now most teams seem to have found an antidote for him. Hence Yodha will try and use him judiciously through the season.
UP Yodha also have the mighty Iranian Azozar Meghani as their right corner along with defender Mahipal. They have further options in their defense in the form of Nehal Desai, Nitin Panwar, M Babu, and Gurdeep. This should be another rocking season for the UP Yodha.
Jaipur Pink Panters would like to tame the UP Yodha early in the season. Both teams play aggressively right from the beginning. This time it will be a face-off between the raiders of both teams-
Rahul Chaudhary, Arjun Deshwal, and Bhavani Rajput
Pardeep Narwal, Surinder Gill, and Nitin Tomar
Both teams have a strong defense but UP Yodha seems to have a better combination with Abozar Meghani supporting from the right corner. This will be a very tense encounter as UP Yodha would like to start with a bang. Though it will not be as easy as it looks. Jaipur Pink Panthers will have to get into the groove very early and trap “Dubki King” Pardeep to push back the Yodha. This may not be a high-scoring game though it will go down the wire.
UP Yodha will win.
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