All eyes will be on Pawan Sehrawat and Vikash Khandola.

The penultimate evening of 2021 will see former champions U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers lock horns in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season 8. The match between Season 1 and Season 2 champions will be followed by Haryana Steelers’ encounter against Bengaluru Bulls.

U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers were arguably the best franchises in the early days of the Pro Kabaddi League. The Pink Panthers won the first season to kickstart a league that has gone on to revolutionize the sport by producing high-quality athletes and finding international acceptance. U Mumba, one of the finest performing teams in PKL history despite a stuttering campaign in 2019, will be keen to rewind the clock and rekindle their rivalry against Jaipur on Thursday.

Will the real Sultan please stand up?

In captain Fazel Atrachali, U Mumba have a top defender and a calm captain. But the “Sultan from Iran” has stayed away from tackles this season adding to hesitancy in the defence. Kabaddi defence is also about working in cohesion and unity – a defender initiates a tackle and the rest of his team pounce immediately. But U Mumba have looked confused on the mat with the mellowed approach to the defence. Perhaps fellow Iranian Mohammadreza Chiyaneh’s form in left-cover defence for Patna Pirates will inspire Fazel to regain his form.

At the other end, U Mumba have had a solid start to the season with V Ajith Kumar and Abhishek Singh taking turns to lead the raids. Ajith, despite failing to score a point in his last raid against Tamil Thaliavas which results in a tie, will be the biggest threat for Jaipur defence.

Jaipur meanwhile have won two matches in a row with former Mumbai raider Arjun Deshwal impressing for the men in pink. The raider has three Super 10s in three matches this season and will be looking for support from captain Deepak Hooda in scoring points off a struggling Mumbai defence.

 A game of surprises

Star raiders of Pro Kabaddi League Season 7, Pawan Sehrawat and Vikash Khandola, haven’t had the best of the starts in 2021 for the respective teams but that has not stopped their teams from winning. Pawan Sehrawat did get a Super 10 in Bulls’ against champions Bengal Warriors but his movement on the mat still hasn’t reached the levels we often associate the “high-flyer” with. The bulls’ addition of Chandran Ranjit in the auctions has helped them compensate for Pawan’s slow start while South Korean Dong Geon Lee’s heroics in the previous outing might fetch him a spot in the starting 7.

Similarly, Vikash Khandola has had a horrendous start to the season, but in Meetu Mahender and Rohit Gulia, the Steelers have unearthed a great raiding duo. The two were instrumental in Haryana’s first win of the season while the defence looked better with Surender Nada and Mohit regaining form.

Both matches will be played at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield Bengaluru – the fixed venue for Season 8 of the Pro Kabaddi League.

TUNE IN DETAILS

7:30 PM: Jaipur Pink Panthers vs U Mumba

8:30 PM: Haryana Steelers vs Bengaluru Bulls

All matches can be watched on Star Sports Network and Disney+Hotstar

For more updates, follow Khel Now Kabaddi on FacebookTwitterInstagram and join our community on Telegram.