The league stages of Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 will come to an end with a Triple Panga night on Saturday. The first match of the night will see a showdown between Jaipur Pink Panthers and Puneri Paltan for a place in the eliminators.
Jaipur Pink Panthers have 62 points from 21 matches and that might not enough to guarantee a Top 6 finish. They will definitely need a tie at least (depending on other results) to be in the reckoning for a playoff spot.
The match will be doubly difficult because their opponents Puneri Paltan will also want a win to clinch a playoff berth. Most teams have approached the mat with an aggressive defence in this crucial stage of the tournament.
Pune and Jaipur will be expected to do the same. Jaipur benched Deepak Hooda in their previous matches to bolster the defence and might continue that strategy against the potent attacking duo of Mohit Goyat and Aslam Inamdar. The youngsters have been the breakout stars of the tournament with their fearless raiding. Jaipur’s raider Arjun Deshwal has been arguably the smartest attacker in the tournament. He is constantly learning on the mat and adapting according to the opposition’s plans. When the defences play a high line, he resorts to quick toe and hand touches. When they stay back to avoid contact, he picks up bonus points. Pune will be hoping their in-form corner combination of Sombir and Vishal Bhardwaj has a solution to Arjun Deshwal’s constant probing.
Gujarat Giants will face U Mumba in the second match of the night. The Giants need a win on the final day of the league stages to ensure they have a chance of playoff qualification. The two-time finalists will hope their cover combination of Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar is in good form. Gujarat rely heavily on defensive stability. If Girish Ernak and company can find their rhythm, there will be no stopping them.
U Mumba are already out of the tournament but a team with a bruised ego can bite harder. Fazel Atrachali and his men will be looking to end the season with a reminder of their quality. Haryana Steelers will need to win against table-toppers Patna Pirates in the final game of the league stages to clinch a place in the playoffs. They squandered an opportunity to guarantee a Top 6 finish when they lost to Bengaluru Bulls in their previous outing. Vikash Kandola and his raiding unit struggled against an aggressive Bengaluru defence. But Patna Pirates might be an easier opposition if they decide to rest a few of their stars.
Haryana’s much-famed cover duo of Jaideep and Mohit will also need to iron out the errors that have crept into their moves in the recent outings.
Patna fielded a much-changed team against Delhi in their last outing but coach Ram Mehar Singh might go back to his trusted 7. Patna won the reverse fixture earlier this season 42-39 thanks to Monu Goyat’s impressive Super 10. He might not start this match though with Guman Singh becoming the first choice raider to start with Sachin.