Puneri Paltan will be looking to starting their home matches of Pro Kabaddi League 2016 on a high note. One of the most star-studded teams in the Pro Kabaddi this season, Paltan take on dark horses Patna Pirates at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Thursday.
Featuring the likes of Manjeet Chhillar, Ajay Thakur, Somvir Sekhar and Deepak Hooda, the Pune side look dominating on-paper, but will they be able to tame Patna Pirates, who are undefeated so far this season? That remains to be seen.
Puneri Paltan are seventh in the table with just one win from three games so far this season. Their only victory came against rockbottom side Dabang Delhi, and that was a thumping 18-point margin win. Telugu Titans and leaders Bengal Warriors, however, defeated Puneri Paltan narrowly in the other two games.
They will definitely be looking to increasing their points in their next four games at home, starting Thursday, in an effort to become definite contenders for the playoffs spot at the end of the league season.
"We know that the patience is wearing thin, but our performance is not too bad either," Puneri Paltan head coach Ashok Shinde was quoted by The Indian Express, ahead of their home matches this season. "We've won a game with a margin of 18 points and lost the other two with comparatively small margins respectively of one and five. "The tournament is long and there are at least a dozen games to go. We can definitely do better," he added.
Patna Pirates, meanwhile, have been in a league of their own. They are currently second in the table with five wins from five games. The wins have come over big guns like Jaipur Pink Panthers, Bengaluru Bulls, U Mumba, Telugu Titans and Bengal Warriors so far, and the Patna side look like they are in no mood to stop.
The Pirates, with Manpreet Singh, Sandeep Narwal and Deepak Narwal in their roster, do look the favourites against Puneri Paltan, but the home team cannot be underestimated either.
Squads: 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.
Patna Pirates â€“ Manpreet Singh (C), Pardeep Narwal, 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 Puneri Paltan and Patna Pirates will begin at 8 p.m. IST (2:30 p.m. GMT) on Thursday, 11 February.
Pro Kabaddi League 2016: Puneri Paltan vs Patna Pirates can be caught LIVE on the Star Sports Network.
Hindi Coverage - Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD 3, 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