Bengaluru, Jan 17 (PTI) Three-time champions Patna Pirates' defence will play a key role when they lock horns with the formidable Dabang Delhi K.C in the Pro Kabaddi League here on Tuesday.
Naveen Kumar's battles with injuries have blunted Dabang team's attack and the Patna Pirates defenders will aim to exploit that.
U Mumba and Gujarat Giants will play the second match of the day. Both teams boast an array of experienced defenders, but it is their raiders who have won them matches.
U Mumba's Abhishek Singh looked good against Bengal Warriors while Rakesh S. has been the unsung hero for the Giants.
The Pirates defence was nearly flawless against the Bengaluru Bulls in the previous outing and they will once again need to be at the top of their game against Delhi's raiding duo of Naveen Kumar and Vijay.
It is not cear if Naveen will recover from his knee injury which means Vijay will be Delhi's go-to raider. He picked up a Super 10 in their previous outing but if Patna can stop him in the initial minutes they will stand a good chance of winning the match.
Patna's squad depth means Delhi will have a difficult time planning their defence. Sachin faded in the later stages of the match which might prompt coach Ram Mehar Singh to use him as a revolving substitute in the upcoming match.
Captain Prashanth Kumar Rai's presence on the mat is vital for the team's success and will therefore take the role of the third raider.
Delhi will face a difficult opponent in Patna and their chances of a win will hinge on their experienced defensive line.
Gujarat Giants might boast of an experienced defensive line-up, but it is their raider Rakesh S. who has won them valuable points. He has been one of the emerging talents of the tournament.
But in Fazel Atrachali and Rinku he will face an experienced corner duo. Both haven't shown their full potential in the tournament but will relish a challenge against Gujarat.
The return of Ajith Kumar will be a big relief for coach Rajaguru Subramanian. Mumbai struggled in the two games he was absent while his return has also taken some weight off Abhishek Singh's shoulders. Both teams will need to win the match to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.
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