Puneri Paltan has been out of action for a fair bit of time now and the extended rest would have done it good. The Pune players were looking physically exhausted towards the end of their home leg and that resulted in Nitin Tomar missing their crucial encounter against U Mumba.
The veteran Raider has been the heart and soul of the Puneri Paltan offense and the side will be hoping he is back to his best when he returns in this game.
Of course, it is not just about Nitin Tomar. Puneri Paltan also has some very valuable players like More GB and Akshay Jadhav in the side. More GB also contributes on the defensive end of the mat as he showed with two Super Tackles in the last match against U Mumba.
Pune skipper, Girish Maruti Ernak is also the side’s best defender. He is currently the fourth best defender in the league and will have a very important role to play in this match as well. The Telugu Titans have struggled on the offensive side and Girish Maruti Ernak will want to keep it that way.
With 6 wins from 13 matches, Puneri Paltan is just a few points ahead of the Gujarat Fortunegiants. Pune will know it needs to win this game and keep the pressure on the other teams in its Zone as the places for the playoffs start to become clearer.
The Telugu Titans lost their last match to the Bengal Warriors and that result can be put down to the absence of Vishal Bhardwaj to a large extent. The skipper of the Telugu Titans, Vishal Bhardwaj has been key to the side’s victories alongside his fellow defender Abozar Mohajermighani.
The two corners have been relentless in their ability to lock down the opposing raiders and will need to be at their best against Puneri Paltan. More than the tackle points these two have racked up, though, it is the seamless understanding they possess on the mat that makes the difference in crucial situations.
Perhaps the reason why the Telugu Titans are struggling in this season of the PKL has been the lack of form of Rahul Chaudhari. A Raider par excellence, Chaudhari has had an uncharacteristically slow start to the tournament.
Chaudhari and Salunke showed glimpses of form in the last match against the Bengal Warriors and will need to build on that in this match.
There have been 10 matches played between Puneri Paltan and the Telugu Titans. The record stands at a very evenly contested 5-4 in favor of the Telugu Titans with the remaining game being a tie. This contest is going to be between the Puneri Paltan offense and the Telugu Titans defense.
Both Puneri Paltan and the Telugu Titans are excellent sides. If Pune possesses an attack that can slice through any defense on its day then the Titans possess a defense to stop any Raiding unit on its day. It should be a fascinating contest where current form can play a big role.
Considering the offensive bent of PKL’s structure, we are backing Puneri Paltan in this contest.
Back Puneri Paltan to win.