Seven wins and a tie from 18 matches for the Telugu Titans is an indication of the struggle this season of Pro Kabaddi has been for them. The Patna Pirates have not done too much better either with nine wins and a tie from seventeen matches.
Being in the right frame of mind and looking to attack must be the attitude that both teams have ahead of this match. Unfortunately, that is not always the case for the Telugu Titans. They were very defensive against the Bengaluru Bulls and keen to defend any small lead they could muster.
In a format that is geared towards attack, it is just beyond our understanding why the Telugu Titans continue to follow this strategy. The most impressive that the Telugu Titans looked was when they were trying to take an early lead against the Bengaluru Bulls. Their raiders were looking for points and getting dangerous players off the mat as well.
Once the Telugu Titans had a small 5 point cushion, they went into their shell and started to defend. Only when the Bulls accelerated away in the second half was when we saw some intent from the Telugu Titans once again.
This strategy of trying to build a lead and then defending with all your might is very dangerous. The Patna Pirates also have Pardeep Narwal who can be a thorn in the side for the Titans as well as some good defenders that can make point scoring difficult in the first place.
Rahul Chaudhari and Nilesh Salunke seem to be the most adept raiders in this Telugu Titans side. Chaudhari has the experience needed to win matches on his own but his recent form has not been very encouraging.
The defense of Vishal Bhardwaj and Abozar Mohjermighani is unquestionably brilliant but the limitations that a defensive unit works under are becoming clear during this Pro Kabaddi campaign.
The Patna Pirates have lost just one out of their last eight matches and are in excellent form. Pardeep Narwal is back to his best and scoring points with amazing ease. Narwal is going to take the challenge of going up against a tough defensive unit as a challenge making this contest very intriguing to watch.
If Narwal can be neutralized by the Titans then the Pirates are going to struggle. If he gets away then this match might be very one-sided very quickly.
Two wins in their last 9 matches show how much of a struggle the last few weeks have been for the Telugu Titans while six victories from their last 8 matches for the Patna Pirates should put them in an excellent frame of mind.
Playing back to back matches at home is a difficult ask for any side. Add to that the pressure of fighting for a Super Playoff spot and things can become even more difficult. What we saw from the Telugu Titans in the last match was not encouraging. The side is not going to be able to get past the Patna Pirates if they play like that again.
Back the Patna Pirates to win.