The first double-header Sunday of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 will see Dabang Delhi K.C. led by the brilliant Naveen Kumar take on Gujarat Giants’ experienced defense. The match will be followed by defending champions Bengal Warriors’ face-off against Pawan's Bengaluru Bulls.
Dabang Delhi K.C. has begun the tournament just like they left in Season 7, picking up important victories in their first two matches. Naveen “Express” Kumar already has two Super 10s (10 points or more) in the tournament and became the fastest raider to cross 500 points in vivo PKL history.
Naveen vs Giants
Naveen will however face a defence manned by the likes of Ravinder Pahal, Girish Ernak, and Parvesh Bhainswal when Delhi lock horns with the Gujarat Giants on Sunday. The Giants lost their previous match against a well-oiled Bengal Warriors side but it only feels a matter of time the cover and corner defenders get their combinations right. And once they do, Gujarat will be a formidable side.
U Mumba had a game plan to stifle Naveen Kumar in Delhi’s last match, but the younger raider proved his versatility to overcome a strong challenge. His pace and agility will once again be Delhi’s main attacking weapon with Vijay and Ajay Thakur assisting. Manjeet Chhillar has been error-prone in the first two matches and it will be interesting to see if he continues to be selected in the starting 7. Gujarat’s lack of a top raider might afford Delhi defence some breathing space, however.
Warriors keep marching on
They say it is in DNA of a top team to keep winning when not playing to their full potential. Defending champions Bengal Warriors might not have dominated in their first two matches but they still secured two vital wins. Captain Maninder Singh and all-rounder Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh will once again be the key figures for the Warriors who will also have the tactical acumen of coach BC Ramesh to rely on.
Raider Pawan Sehrawat hasn’t got the flying start he would have expected but with Chandran Ranjit and young Bharat chipping in, the Bulls have looked like a solid unit. If the Bulls can keep the Bengal raiders quiet, the match will certainly turn in their favour.