After winning three consecutive titles in the third, fourth and fifth season, Patna Pirates failed to make it to the playoffs in PKL 2018. The team, however, strengthened both their raiding and the defence ahead of the start of the seventh edition of the league and expect to get their mojo back.
How they performed in the previous season?
The sixth season of the league was not a one to remember for Patna Pirates as they failed to make it to the playoffs from Zone B. Pardeep Narwal was the star performer of the team but ran short of good support from the defence and other raiders in the side. Although youngster Manjeet came up with some good performances, it was not enough for the Ram Mehar Singh-led team to finish in the top three on the Zone B points table. They were pipped by UP Yoddha towards the end on the table as Patna finished with 55 in comparison to 57 of the neighbouring team. Failing to secure losing points in each of Patna’s last two matches ensured that they fell short of the qualification. They eventually finished fourth in the league stage with nine wins from 22 matches.
Who are the star players for the Pirates?
Without any doubt, their last year’s skipper Pardeep and recent recruit Surender Nada are going to be the players to watch out for in the side. With 233 raid points, Pardeep was the second best raider of the tournament last year and is expected to create the magic in the team again. Nada, on the other hand, was ruled out of the tournament last season after getting injured in the first game. Coming back into the league, the left corner defender will have a point or two to prove in the Patna camp.
Patna Pirates Squad:
SportsCafe’s starting 7:
Centre – Pardeep Narwal
Left in – Jang Kun Lee
Right in – Mohammad Esmaeil Maghsoudlou
Left corner – Surender Nada
Right corner – Jawahar Dagar
Left cover – Vikash Jaglan
Right cover – Hadi Oshtorak
What is their strength?
The best thing for the Pirates this season is that they have a balanced unit ahead of the start of the league this time. Coach Ram Mehar got his permutations and combinations right in the auctions in April as he has a good mix of young and experienced and good raiders and defenders. They picked up Jang Kun Lee, who had played all these years in neighbouring team Bengal Warriors for Rs 40 lakhs, to help out Patna star Pardeep in the raiding. Iranian Esmaeil Maghsoudlou, who was roped in for 35 lakh rupees, is a good addition in the raiding department as well.
With Jawahar Dagar and Vikash Jaglan in the defence from last season and Nada’s inclusion this year, the defence looks deadly for any opposition in the league. The left corner is secured with Nada who is one of the most effective left corner defenders in the country now. He will be well supported by Jaglan at the cover position on the left side of the mat.
Where they might fall behind other teams?
The only area of concern for Patna before the start of the season will be the right side of the defence. They have all-rounder Hadi Oshtorak and Neeraj Kumar along with Dagar for the right side of the defence. Neeraj Kumar and Dagar both can be effective at the corner positions while Oshtorak is a good cover and can be effective with his raiding prowess. The team needs to make a choice to get two out of these three in the starting 7. Neeraj, although was picked up for a good amount of Rs 44.7 lakhs at the auctions, was not effective at all for Haryana Steelers in season 6 at the corner position.
Why one should support Patna Pirates?
When a team has won three out of six seasons in the history of the league, you don’t have to figure out a reason to support them. Patna Pirates is hugely popular as a team in the PKL and the side have been one of the widely-followed ones since the inception of the tournament back in 2014. Pardeep is a star and has a wide fan-following among kabaddi lovers all around the world. Again, the addition of Lee from Korea will increase their following in that country. Lee is one of the most followed foreign players in the league since the first season when he made his presence felt in the Bengal Warriors team.
When they will play their games?
The Pirates will start their campaign in the seventh season from the first day of the league itself. They will take on defending champions Bengaluru Bulls in the second game of the opening evening at the Gachibowli Stadium in Hyderabad. The three-time champions will play all their home games at the Patliputra Sports Complex, Patna. The home leg for the Pirates is scheduled to begin from August 3 this year.
July 20 vs Bengaluru Bulls in Hyderabad
July 26 vs Telugu Titans in Hyderabad
July 29 vs Tamil Thalaivas in Mumbai
August 3 vs Jaipur Pink Panthers in Patna
August 4 vs Puneri Paltan in Patna
August 7 vs Haryana Steelers in Patna
August 9 vs UP Yoddha in Patna
August 16 vs U Mumba in Ahmedabad
August 22 vs Bengal Warriors in Chennai
August 23 vs Gujarat Fortunegiants in Chennai
August 30 vs Dabang Delhi in Delhi
September 4 vs Bengaluru Bulls in Bengaluru
September 6 vs UP Yoddha in Bengaluru
September 9 vs Tamil Thalaivas in Kolkata
September 12 vs Jaipur Pink Panthers in Kolkata
September 15 vs Puneri Paltan in Pune
September 20 vs Telugu Titans in Pune
September 23 vs Haryana Steelers in Jaipur
September 26 vs Dabang Delhi in Jaipur
October 2 vs U Mumba in Panchkula
October 5 vs Gujarat Fortunegiants in Greater Noida
October 6 vs Bengal Warriors in Greater Noida
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