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Eliminator 1- Lucky Puneri Paltan take on revitalized UP Yodha.
UP Yodha will win.
Tournament: Pro Kabaddi (PKL) | Venue: Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, BengaluruBet Now
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After 132 games of hard sweat and blood we have 6 teams which qualified for the next stage. The UP Yodha will take on Puneri Paltan in the first eliminator. The winner of this game will take on the Patna Pirates in the first semifinal. It has been a torrid journey for the Puneri Paltan. They were grappling with lot of issues and hovered at the bottom of the points table. But mid-season, coach Anup Kumar identified the issues and since then the Paltan rebooted and trashed some big teams. The kept winning games and moved up the points table. But they had a slippery journey to the eliminators. They lost to the Bengal Warriors and then beat the Jaipur Pink Panthers in their last game. They qualified at the expense of the Haryana Steelers who lost their last game to the Patna Pirates. Hence the Paltan will value this pinch of luck. The UP Yodha secured their eliminator spot much earlier and look to be the stronger team. But the 132 games played in the season have proved that the mat can be unforgiving as well as rewarding. Both teams won a match each against each other in the league stage and both games were high scoring ones. But this is the eliminator, the team that wins moves ahead.
The UP Yodha is one of the vibrant sides of the league. They started off slowly but gained a lot of vigour, intensity and confidence as the league progressed. They won 4 out of their last 5 league games to finish 3rd in the points table with 68 points. There were phases in this long season when they looked unbeatable as well as ordinary. But they seem to have recovered well to revitalize themselves as they take on the Puneri Paltan in the first eliminator. They beat the Paltan in their first meeting by 10 points but lost the next one by 6 points. The UP Yodha is spearheaded by a trio of raiders.
Surender Gill, Pardeep Narwal and Shrikant Jadhav. These 3 have collectively earned 432 raid points. Surender heads the pack with some scintillating performances. He rose from the shadows of Pardeep Narwal to bulldoze the opposition defenders. Some of his Super raids involved taking 2-3 defenders past the mid line single handedly. This is the physically power he possesses. The UP defence has been one of the best in the season. Defenders Sumit, Nitesh Kumar, Shubham Kumar and Ashu Singh have been consistent and fearless.
Sumit has been in the list of top 10 defenders almost throughout the season. But the UP defence has had its dull moments which led them to slip mid-season. But they came back in style and have become a strong unit. They lost to the Puneri Paltan in one of the league games and that was primarily because their defence crumbled. Surender Gill scored 16 points alone while the entire defence could score 2 tackle points. This is what they need to avoid in the eliminator. They look stronger, innovative and in control of the game when their defence is on song. UP Yodha will aim to run over the Puneri Paltan in a grand manner.
The Puneri Paltan is one of the very few teams which has tasted all the possible flavors of kabaddi this season. They returned from the abyss to sneaking into the qualifiers at the expense of the Jaipur Pink Panthers and the Haryana Steelers. They were on the edge of their seats till the last game of the league. Hence they have toughened up. Now they face a bigger challenge as they take on the UP Yodha in the first eliminator. This could be the end of their journey or they may catapult themselves into the semi finals.
The Paltan has suffered a lot as compared to the other teams. Star Rahul Chaudhari was not up to the mark initially and then veteran Nitin Tomar was injured. Defender Vishal Bharadwaj was slippery. But the rise of raiders Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat gave them a lease of life and then the Puneri Paltan started to dominate. Defenders Sombir and Abhinesh also performed well thus helping the Paltan become more balanced side.
Sombir and Vishal Bharadwaj have executed 92 successful tackles collectively. The Puneri Paltan have beaten top sides and this will give them the confidence in their knock out encounter with the UP Yodha. They lost to the Yodha in their first league meeting but avenged it in their next. Coach Anup Kumar has plenty of options in raiding as well as defence. If the Puneri defence can tackle efficiently, they can get under the skin of the Yodha. But the Paltan has also been prone to misfiring. They lost to the Bengal Warriors in their penultimate league game, a match they should have won as they led by 10 points in the first half. The Paltan has to guard against such adventures as this is a knock out game.
The forecast for this game is for heavy showers of points from both sides!!!! Both teams will be eager to play aggressive and positive brand of kabaddi. They will look forward to take risks as well as try multiple advanced tackles.
Raiders Face-off- Surender, Pardeep, Shrikant vs Aslam, Mohit, Nitin
Defenders Face-off- Sumit, Nitesh vs Sombir, Vishal Bharadwaj.
UP Yodha will target defenders Abhinesh and left corner Vishal Bharadwaj who have been less efficient than Sombir. Defenders Sumit and Nitesh will try and isolate either Aslam or Mohit Goyat to keep the Paltan earnings in check. The Puneri Paltan will solely depend on their main raiders though Nitin Tomar and Rahul Chaudhari can add the flavor of experience. The Paltan will be vary of Yodha raider Surender Gill as he is a master of deceit.
This will be one of the best encounters of the season. Get set for a fast paced, action packed first eliminator.
UP Yodha will win.
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