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It's either the Yodha or the Thalaiva!!
Tamil Thalaiva will win.
Tournament: Pro Kabaddi (PKL) | Venue: Dome, NSCI, Mumbai.Bet Now
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The second eliminator to be played in Mumbai will be one of the best contests of the season. Both teams went through tough times and displayed great grit and courage to qualify for the playoff. The UP Yodha won 12 out of their 22 matches while the Tamil Thalaiva had to settle for 4 tied matches in the 22 games they played.
Tamil Thalaiva had 3 major setbacks off the field. They lost Pawan Sehrawat due to injury, later their coach quit mid-season and by the end of the season, Captain Sagar was out too due to injury. The UP Yodha has had its share of issues. Surender Gill had to miss a few matches due to a freak injury and he should be available for the eliminator.
The biggest surprise would be if Pawan Sehrawat enters the mat for the Thalaiva. But he will have to face the “Dubki King” Pardeep Narwal who has been in devastating form. This match is expected to be explosive and entertaining, but in the end, only one team will get the ticket for the semi-finals.
The UP Yodha would consider themselves lucky as their top raider Pardeep Narwal found his golden touch very early in the season. In the first few games, UP looked pedestrian as they were not able to forge a decent combination. Pardeep Narwal was playing side-kick to Surender Gill who was performing like a one-man army.
But soon Surender got injured and Pardeep started executing his “Dubki’s” to perfection. He escaped from the toughest traps to beat all his opponents. This propped UP Yodha to win games regularly. The Yodha won 12 out of its 22 matches earning 71 points.
Pardeep scored 208 raid points in 21 matches. This includes 10 Super 10’s and 8 Super raids.
Young raider Rohit Tomar complemented Pardeep when Surender Gill was injured. UP will expect that Surender will recover in time to be part of the starting 7.
UP Yodha was consistent not just due to their raiders, but because of their deadly defense too. Defenders Sumit and Ashu Singh were lethal throughout the season. Left corner Sumit has conducted 45 successful tackles in 20 matches while Ashu has executed 42 successful tackles in 22 games. UP Yodha also got “Hulk” Sandeep Narwal mid-season which has bolstered their defense.
As a team, the Yodha has conducted 367 successful team raids and 194 successful team tackles. Their raid conversion success rate is a bit low which has hurt them in some games.
The Yodha has executed 20 Super tackles and 19 Super raids till the league stage.
They have also inflicted 36 all-outs in 22 matches which exhibits their raiding strength.
The Yodha defeated the Thalaiva in its first league encounter. They thrashed them by a margin of 17 points. But the Thalaiva returned the favor in their next league encounter as the Yodha lost by a margin of 15 points. That was due to the total breakdown of their defense. The UP Yodha cannot afford to let this happen again in the knock-outs. Pardeep Narwal will be their main weapon as the Yodha will aim for the semi-finals spot.
If there is any team that has struggled the most in season 9, it is the Tamil Thalaiva. The Thalaiva has always been a star-studded team but it could never finish in the top 6 through its PKL journey. They were known as “chokers” and “TIE specialists” by most kabaddi fans. Season 9 too wasn’t too different for them in their first few matches. Star Pawan Sehrawat got injured in his very first match and their coach quit mid-way through the season.
Pawan went through recovery and rehabilitation but could not play a single game on the league stage. Still, the Thalaiva kept fighting. Their Captain Sagar too got injured at the business end of the season making it almost impossible for them to win. But their young raiders displayed grit and courage to conduct heist after heist and win them games.
The eliminator will be their biggest test as they take on the strong UP Yodha. The Thalaiva will plan out its strategies as it cannot approach the match in an emotional manner. They will depend on Stand-in Captain Ajinkya Pawar and Narender. It will be the biggest surprise for all if Pawan Sehrawat is fit enough to play.
The Thalaiva lost its first league match to the Yodha by a large margin. Those were the days in the season when they were struggling to come to terms with the untimely disasters. But the Thalaiva bounced back later in the season to beat the Yodha by 15 points. They will look at that match for tactical planning.
Tamil Thalaiva has conducted 345 successful team raids in 22 matches. But they executed 223 successful team tackles which was the second-best of the season. Left corner Sahil Gulia and right cover M Abhishek have been precise with their moves along with Captain Sagar. Left corner Himanshu too has been lethal which has rescued the Thalaiva on numerous occasions.
This has been the best season for the Thalaiva in their entire PKL journey and they would love to make it memorable by winning this match and booking their spot in the semi-finals.
The mat will be on fire when the UP Yodha takes on the Tamil Thalaiva at the Dome in Mumbai. Both teams have traveled a treacherous path to reach this stage. But only one can go ahead.
UP Yodha have their trump card in the form of Pardeep Narwal who will score a big Super 10. If Surender Gills is fit to play it will be a bonus for the Yodha. Defenders Sumit and Ashu Singh will hunt precisely in the first half. But Captain Nitesh may give away points with advanced tackles. All-rounder Sandeep Narwal will play an important role in the second half of the match.
The Thalaiva will play hide and seek with the Yodha as they will regulate the pace of the match. They will be aggressive in the second half taking the match down the wire. Raiders Narender and Ajinkya will earn well but it will be a blockbuster if Pawan Sehrawat makes an appearance. Captain Sagar and Sahil Gulia will trouble Pardeep Narwal a bit.
Overall this will be an exciting contest as well as a suspense thriller.
Tamil Thalaiva will win.
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