Not more than a month ago, we faced the Patna Pirates in a match that ended in their favour. This time, the Yoddha have an opportunity to settle the score with the Pirates as we meet again in ProKabaddi 2019. Though the Pirates looked pretty strong in the encounter in August, the form is with us this time around, giving Yoddha a slight edge as they get on to the mat at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru.
One name almost sums up the Pirates raiding contingent – that of Pardeep Narwal. After an initial fumble in form, the seasoned raider is now back on track, currently scoring at over nine raid points per match. Though Narwal is enjoying a great form, he hardly finds support from his fellow raiders, which is a major concern for the Pirates.
With our defense being one of the strongest of the league, the battle will be interesting. Narwal, who loves to raid from his left, will have to be wary of Sumit’s dashes and Nitesh’s ankle-holds – both of which have been immensely effective throughout the season.
The only other raider that the Pirates have really banked upon is Mohammad Esmaeil, who has been off colours lately. Hence, our defenders’ primary target zeroes down to Narwal, and it will be a good contest to witness.
The strategy of one raider and several good defenders has not really worked out for the Pirates as a team, although the defense has done fairly. Pirates boast of experienced defenders like Hadi Tajik and Vikas Jaglan who have held the Pirates defense strong alongside the likes of Neeraj Kumar and Esmaeil.
At present, Shrikant Jadhav has been the brightest among the raiders, emerging as the saviour with his heroic performances. Shrikant contributed consistently in Yoddha’s recent victories and has of late been efficiently using his pace and height during his raids. While he will be looked upon as the most dependable when the team walks out to play tomorrow, the other raiders the Yoddha clan can bank upon are Rishank and Surender Gill. Rishank, one of the most experienced raiders around, has been quintessential in maintaining a game-plan on the mat and guiding the fellow Yoddha. His own form has been a matter of concern for the team; however, his multiple injuries explain a lot about it. Surender, in the other hand, has stepped up from time to time whenever the team needed the best out of him.
Head to head:
UP Yoddha 2 – 4 Patna Pirates (1 match tied)