Patna Pirates will take on Puneri Paltan in the Pro Kabaddi League at the Kankarbagh stadium in Patna on Thursday.
The action has now shifted from Delhi to Patna. Neither the Pirates nor the Paltan can claim to be the outright favourite going into this game.
The Pirates are fourth in this eight-team tournament behind Dabang Delhi but they have three games in hand. The boys from Pune, on the other hand, are languishing at the bottom.
Pune looked to have hit form after a win in a tightly contested match against Bengaluru Bulls but were at sea against leaders U Mumba, who coasted to a 44-28 victory against them.
Taking the initiative and retaining it matters the most in this game. Pune have shown themselves to be tenacious in some of the games. In their encounter against the Bulls this tenacity was on view as held their nerve to come out victorious in the dying stages.
In the game against U Mumba - the hardest team to play against - they came a cropper. After conceding an early lead they came back into the game and held their own in the first half. But in the second half they were all over the place as U Mumba went after them all guns blazing.
Keeping Rakesh Kumar - the star player of the Pirates - at bay would be a very hard task for them. The defence has to be constantly on their toes. In attack Wazir Singh has done well. Another good performance by him is what Pune would be hoping for.
Patna have won two games and lost two. Both losses have come against two of the strongest teams in the competition - U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers. They gave U Mumba a very good fight in the first game, thanks to skipper Rakesh. Meanwhile, the Panthers had them on the mat throughout the game. The 40-18 score in Jaipur's favour reflected their dominance.
Victory in their last game against Dabang Delhi would have given them confidence. They kept calm and saw to it that the win was theirs against an aggressive Delhi side. Also, the victory against Telugu Titans was in a close contest, where they again held their nerve.
For them, as always Rakesh is the key. He received good support from Ravi Dalal so far in the tournament. Once more a lot depends on them.
Pune would dearly love another win whereas for the Pirates climbing up the points table would be of the essence.
Where to Watch Live
Patna Pirates will play Puneri Paltan at 8.00 pm. Star Sports will air the match. Live coverage will comence on Star Sports HD 2 from 7.45 pm. This is the link for the live streaming option on starsports.com.