There are several reasons why Puneri Paltan has struggled this season but the foremost among them has to be the poor form of Nitin Tomar. He was out injured for the start of the tournament and has since been a pale shadow of himself.
Manjeet and Pankaj Mohite have tried to lift the side with their raiding prowess but the absence of an experienced, dependable figure in the offense is hurting Puneri Paltan. Maybe playing against traditional rivals U Mumba will spark something inside of Nitin Tomar.
The defense is going to be critical in keeping U Mumba within reach. This is where the experience of Surjeet Singh and Girish Maruti Ernak is so critical. They will know that U Mumba has not been having the best time with its raiding department and an opportunity to put it under pressure exists.
A superb win against the Jaipur Pink Panthers in the previous match would have given U Mumba a lot of confidence. It was also an important result because it brought about some clarity to U Mumba as to its best raiding options.
On current form and on the basis of what we have seen in PKL 2019, Abhishek Singh should certainly be the lead raider for U Mumba with Athul MS as the secondary option. Arjun Deshwal and Rohit Baliyan can be used off the bench as needed.
Abhishek Singh scored a Super-10 in his previous match and was very assertive on the mat. We expect him to come very hard at the Puneri Paltan defense once again.
Fazel Atrachali, Sandeep Narwal, and Surinder Singh are going to be very difficult to get past in the defense. They are going to have Nitin Tomar in their sights. In times gone past, Nitin Tomar has been a pain in the neck for U Mumba and we are sure that Fazel Atrachalai would like some payback this time around.
U Mumba holds a 9-5 advantage over Puneri Paltan in head to head matches with one additional match being a tie. U Mumba won its previous match against Puneri Paltan. Interestingly, U Mumba has yet to win two consecutive matches in PKL 2019!
The Maharashtrian derby is a closely contested match and we don’t think anything different will be on show this time around. Going by the pattern of what we have seen in PKL 2019, U Mumba has found it difficult to win two consecutive matches so it should be in line for a loss after its win against the Jaipur Pink Panthers.
We think, however, that U Mumba is close to finding its best seven and its players are finding form at just the right time in the tournament.
Bet on U Mumba to win.