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Maverick Thalaiva takes on Former Champions.
Tamil Thalaiva will win.
Tournament: Pro Kabaddi (PKL) | Venue: Arena by TransstadiaBet Now
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Tamil Thalaiva has a huge fan base but they have not been able to convert this fan following into results on the mat. Without any Superstars in their squad, the Thalaiva is heavily dependent on teamwork. They settled for the maximum number of tied games for any team last season. With 8 victories and 4 tied games, they finished a respectable 5th in season 9.
Runners up of season 7 and champions of season 9 were marred by injuries in the later half of season 9. After reining the points table for almost 8 weeks, they faltered in the last few matches to finish behind Tamil Thalaiva in season 9. The core of the team is more or less woven around Naveen Kumar. But their defense looks dodgy this season as they do not have any big name apart from Vishal Bharadwaj.
Dabang Delhi have dominated the Thalaiva over the years but they seem to fall prey to the unique Thalaiva tactics to tie the game in the last few raids of the match. Delhi has beaten Tamil Thalaiva since season 8. This will be a tough encounter for Dabang Delhi who are heavily dependent on Naveen Kumar.
One of the most popular teams on the circuit has under-performed over the years. Generally tenants of the lower part of the points table, the Thalaiva was a prodigy who never became a star. Yet their fans have faith in this team which surprised everyone by finishing 5th last season. Without any big names, Tamil Thalaiva worked together as a team to achieve some daring victories.
Uncanny names like Ajinkya Pawar, Narender along with defenders Sagar and Himanshu rose from the ashes to bring laurels to their team. Sagar was one of the best defenders of season 9 as 45 successful tackles in 17 games. Their left corner Sahil Gulia was precise in this tackles with 53 succssful tackles in 23 games of season 9.
Coach Ashan Kumar with his expertise transformed the Thaliava from a struggling unit to a ruthless machine. He will motivate his young squad to rise to the occasion and make season 10 a memorable one for them. Ashan Kumar has previously coached the Indian and the Iranian national team. He has brought in some Iranian flavor with players like Amirhussein Bastami and Mohamadreza Kaboudrahangi. Local talent like right cover Abhishek and specialist right raiders like Lakshnanan and Sathish Kannan will aim to surprise their fans.
Tamil Thalaiva also gained the distinction of being the “TIE” specialist in season 9. This helped them avoid defeats as well as gain important points to stay afloat for the play off. looks like they may continue with the same strategy this season too.
As a team, the Thalaiva executed 243 successful tackles last season which was just behind leaders and eventual champions Jaipur Pink Panthers. One of their weak areas last season was that they conceded too many points as well as all-outs which shackled them in most matches. It might be a “Dream come true” season for the Thalaiva as they take on former champions Dabang Delhi in their opening bout.
Runners up of season 7 and the Champions of Season 8 were left licking their wounds last time around as they ran out of gas to finish 6th. This was primarily due to the freak injury to Naveen Kumar mid-season.
Dabang Delhi has always been a star studded side with a strong defense and a stingy raiding party. But this season, they seem to be over dependent on Super star Naveen Kumar. Though he is one of the best players in the world, Dabang Delhi will have to be innovative and choosy with Naveen as the season spans over 12 weeks.
Naveen Kumar has by far the best statistics in the PKL. He holds the records of 28 successive Super 10’s. He has earned 934 raid points in the PKL along with 237 bonus raid points. This makes him a difficult raider to tackle.
Dabang Delhi have a bunch of youngsters who will have to support Naveen Kumar. Raiders like Ashu Malik and Meetu Sharma will have to perform above average in order to compliment Naveen’s efforts. Delhi seems to be weak in their defense as they have only one big name in the form of Vishal Bharadwaj. New head coach Ranbir Singh Khokar will have to forge new partnerships in the defense. He will have to try out different combinations for the corners and covers so as to build an impregnable wall.
Tamil Thalaiva is a tricky opponent for Dabang Delhi as they have not beaten them since season 8. They have scored heavily against the Thalaiva as well as lost steam on many occasions. With some inexperienced players at the corners, this will be one of the biggest test for Delhi as they start the season with an encounter against one of the maverick teams on the circuit.
Tamil Thalaiva is the clear favourite in this match. Defenders Sagar and Sahil Gulia will trap Naveen early in the first half. Thalaiva’s will unleash their raiders with some quick raids to destablilize the Dabang defense. Raiders Himanshu and young Narender will turn on the heat as they will help their team take an early lead.
Naveen Kumar will struggle a bit in this game but he will make a sensational comeback in the second half. Delhi’s defense looks fragile and they may have to compensate by earning maximum raid points in each raid. Veteran defender Vishal Bharawaj will be effective only if he is able to control his instincts and unforced errors.
This will be a very exciting and an entertaining match as the Tamil Thalaiva will run through the Delhi defense. We may see a few all-outs in the first half itself. Naveen Kumar will be the star of the match but the Thalaiva defense may be too hot and spicy for him.
Tamil Thalaiva will win.
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