We are into the most interesting stage of the Pro Kabaddi League 2016 with any of the four teams capable of lifting the title at the end of Saturday. However, prior to that, they have to battle it out in the semis to progress to the grand finale.
Patna Pirates, who stood second in the table following their 14 league games this season, take on third-placed Puneri Paltan in what is expected to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller, Friday, at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.
The match is the first of the two Pro Kabaddi semifinals of the day.
The Pirates, who were in the playoffs of the Pro Kabaddi in the previous two seasons, have never booked a place in the final. But this time, they have a big chance of achieving that feat. With ten wins, two losses and two draws in the league phase, the Patna Pirates stamped their presence in an impressive way this time.
Only U Mumba and Telugu Titans were able to defeat them this season, and although the Patna-based team are coming to the game on the back of a defeat on Feb. 28, they feel they have got the much-needed rest to start aftesh once more.
"The rest we got in between the league matches and the semi finals has helped us in proper planning ahead of the match against Puneri Paltan. The team is fit, we all know the importance of the semi final and the team is working hard for the match," Patna Pirates skipper Manpreet Singh spoke in a video.
Puneri Paltan might be the underdogs on paper, but anyone who has followed the Pro Kabaddi League 2016 closely, know that the Pune side cannot be underestimated. Paltan didn't have the brightest of starts to their season, but their performance in the second half helped them reach the last four.
Puneri Paltan stood rockbottom in the league in the previous two seasons, and their performance this time came as a surprise to many. Boasting of a star-studded lineup comprising the likes of Ajay Thakur, Manjeet Chhillar and Deepak Hooda, the Pune side notched six victories from their last eight league fixtures, including a win against the Bengal Warriors, to take over the third spot.
The match will be very interesting, since, the last two times these two faced each other this season, the result was a draw on both occasions.
Squads: Patna Pirates â€“ 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.
Puneri Paltan â€“ Manjeet Chhillar (C), Ajay Thakur, David M, Nilesh Salunke, Ramkumar S, Ravi V, Sachin V, Simon Kinura, Surendra Singh, Tushar Patil, Waleed Hasani, Yogesh Hooda, Ravi Kumar, Somvir Sekhar, Thongkham K, Manoj Dhull, Prashant Chavan, Ravinder Kumar, Sachin Shingade, Sachin Khambe, Sandeep Malik, Deepak Hooda, Jasmer Gulia.
Where to watch live:
The match between Patna Pirates and Puneri Paltan will begin at 8 p.m. IST (2:30 p.m. GMT), Friday, March 4.
Pro Kabaddi 2016 semi final 1: Patna Pirates vs Puneri Paltan can be caught LIVE on the Star Sports Network.
Hindi Coverage - Star Gold
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