PKL: Bengal Warriors face in-form Haryana Steelers
Bengaluru: Defending champions Bengal Warriors will face in-form Haryana Steelers in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) here on Friday.
Captain Maninder Singh and Iranian all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh will once again lead the Warriors who will be keen to maintain momentum after halting their losing streak.
The match will be followed by Jaipur Pink Panthers' showdown against Puneri Paltan.
Haryana's fortunes will depend on how well the defensive combination of Surender Nada and Jaideep handle Bengal captain Maninder Singh. With 17 tackle points each, the duo has been the most interesting defensive line to watch with Surender providing the experience to young Jaideep's exuberance.
Haryana's raiding trio of Vikash Kandola, Meetu and Rohit Gulia has also found form in the recent matches.
The Steelers have usually impressed whenever their raiders have hit Super 10s and the Bengal defence will be eyeing to stop that from happening. They managed a tie against U Mumba and beat Gujarat Giants in their previous two matches.
Bengal have been overly reliant on Maninder Singh and Mohammad Nabibakhsh for the points. Together they contributed 23 points in the Warriors' 31 against Jaipur Pink Panthers in their previous match.
If Haryana stop the duo, they will have a solid chance of winning. Coach Rakesh Kumar will want his Steelers to start the match aggressively against a Bengal side who have lacked confidence in their defence.
The more time Maninder Singh spends away from the mat, the more likely Haryana are to win.
The second match of the night will see Jaipur Pink Panthers take on a rejuvenated Puneri Paltan side.
Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat were in great form for coach Anup Kumar's Pune in their win against Gujarat Giants. They will fancy their chances against Jaipur's defence that has looked leaky in the recent games with the Sandeep Dhull and Vishal failing to find a rhythm.
The Pink Panthers will once again rely on Arjun Deshwal, who has started the season with consecutive Super 10s, to lead their attack.