Bengaluru: Focus will be on in-form players when Jaipur Pink Panthers lock horns with the exciting Tamil Thalaivas while Bengaluru Bulls take on Patna Pirates key matches of the Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 here on Sunday.
The Pink Panthers have beaten top sides Patna Pirates and Dabang Delhi K.C. in their previous outings and will be looking to continue their giant-killing act by beating Surjeet Singh and Co. The Thalaivas had a morale-depleting loss against Bengal Warriors, but their impressive defenders will be looking to turn things around against the Season 1 champions.
All eyes will be on the in-form Pawan Sehrawa' when Bengaluru Bulls meet Patna Pirates in the second match on Sunday.
Sehrawat has been in red-hot form for the Bulls and will eye another dominating performance against a Pirates defence that struggled against Jaipur.
Jaipur had failed to capitalise on Arjun Deshwal's raiding performances early season because they lacked a good secondary raider. But with Deepak Hooda stepping up, they suddenly look a well-balanced side capable of challenging top teams. Deepak Hooda has the third-highest raid points in PKL history and showed why he is considered amongst the best with a Super 10 against Patna. He was particularly impressive in Do-or-Die situations which will ease the pressure on Arjun Deshwal.
The two raiders will, however, face a different battle against Thalaivas' Surjeet Singh and Sagar. Patna showed too much respect for Deepak Hooda in the defence but the same can't be expected of the in-form Thalaivas duo. The 'amil team's strength has been their defence and it is important they don't hesitate against the Jaipur raiders. The South Indian team's own raiders had a disappointing night against Bengal and will be aiming to recover from the blip.
Bengaluru Bulls have been functioning in top gear in the last few matches with Pawan Sehrawat picking up Super 10s with ease. This will be Patna Pirates and coach Ram'Mehar Singh's greatest worry especially with Mohammadreza Shadloui looking off-colour. Pawan is known to target the left side of the mat so the cover defenders Sajin C. and Neeraj Kumar will need to be on top of their game to ensure Shadloui is supported in his tackle.
Bharat's emergence as a top all-rounder has sharpened the Bulls' attack who also have Chandran Ranjit in their ranks. The two have revived Pawan Sehrawat quickly while Bharat's reach will also make him a great raiding option in Super Tackle situations. This might force the Pirates to start the match with an extra defender.
Patna's own raiding trio of Prashanth Rai, Monu Goyat, and Sachin will need to shoulder more responsibilities. The Pirates' good start to the season, despite losing Pardeep Narwal in the auctions, has largely been down to their unity and all-around performances. They will be keen to deliver another statement win against a Bulls team in form.