The D-Day is here. U Mumba will feature in their third-straight final of the Pro Kabaddi and they are expected to clinch the honours at the end of Saturday, taking into account their experience of playing in the final of the competition and the fact that they are the defending champions.
The Mumbai-based outfit take on Patna Pirates at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi in what is billed to be a Pro Kabaddi final of the highest level.
Both teams were sensational in the league phase of the Pro Kabaddi League 2016 and they took forward that winning momentum to the semi finals as well. While Patna Pirates got past Puneri Paltan in the semi final with a 40-21 scoreline, U Mumba overpowered Bengal Warriors with a 41-29 scoreline.
The final of the Pro Kabaddi 2016 was more or less predicted when the Mumbai side and the Patna side entered the semis as the top two sides and there was also no shocks in the playoffs.
The interesting thing is that in the last encounters between the sides this season, U Mumba won once and Patna Pirates won once. Apart from clinching the trophy Saturday, the match will also be about getting the bragging rights over the other.
"There is no such planning ahead of the match," U Mumba skipper Anup Kumar said in a video ahead of the final. "The plans keep changing once the match gets under way. We will approach the game as and how it progresses. We will take on-the-spot decisions during the match.
"Patna Pirates are not a loose team. They have performed well and the final will turn out to be a cracker," Anup added.
For Patna Pirates, youngsters Rohit Kumar and Pardeep Narwal performed really well in the semi final and skipper Manpreet Singh feels the duo can work their magic once again.
"Rohit and Pardeep are young and are hungry to perform. Since they didn't participate in the Pro Kabaddi in the last two seasons, not many team were aware of their abilities. However, I kept the belief on them," Manpreet said in a video.
Key players: U Mumba - Rishank Devadiga (raider), Mohit Chhillar (defender), Anup Kumar (all-rounder).
Patna Pirates - Pardeep Narwal (raider), Sandeep Narwal (defender), Rohit Kumar (all-rounder).
Previous encounters this season:
U Mumba 26-40 Patna Pirates
Patna Pirates 28-34 U Mumba
Squads: U Mumba – Anup Kumar (C), Anoop EV, Prapanjan, Masayuki Shimokava, Pawan Kumar, Pradeep Kumar, Rishank Devadiga, Shabeer Bapu, Suresh Kumar, Vinod Paulyas, Jeeva G, Jeeva Kumar, Mohit Chhillar, Surender Nada, Vishal Mane, Bhupendra Singh, Jawahar Vivek, Abolfazel M, Fazel Atrachali, Hadi Tajik, Ravi Kumar.
Patna Pirates – Manpreet Singh (C), Sandeep Narwal, Abhinandan Kumar, Bhabesh Kumar, Deepak Narwal, Gurvinder Singh, G Singh, M Narwal, Rajesh Mondal, Sunil Jaipal, Vijay Malik, Suresh Kumar, Manish, Amit Hooda, Ram Sah, Vinod Kumar, Nasir Ali, Sandeep, Sunil Kumar, Hadi Oshtorak, Tae Deok Eom.
Where to watch live:
The match between U Mumba and Patna Pirates will begin at 9 p.m. IST (3:30 p.m. GMT), Saturday, March 5.
Pro Kabaddi 2016 final: U Mumba vs Patna Pirates can be caught LIVE on the Star Sports Network.
Hindi Coverage - Star Gold, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD 3
English Coverage - Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD 2
Telugu Coverage - Maa Movies
Kannada Coverage - Suvarna Plus
UK viewers can catch the action on Life OK