PKL 2021 Day 2 preview: Young stars vs senior pros; Naveen Kumar, Rahul Chaudhari in action

All eyes will be on Naveen Kumar as six teams, including the likes of Dabang Delhi, Jaipur Pink Panthers and Patna Pirates, kick off their Pro Kabaddi League season 8 campaign on Thursday.

Published : Dec 23, 2021 14:23 IST

Rahul Chaudhari was with Tamil Thalaivas  last season.
Rahul Chaudhari was with Tamil Thalaivas last season.

Rahul Chaudhari was with Tamil Thalaivas last season.

Day 2 of vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 8 will once again feature three back-to-back matches with former champion Jaipur Pink Panthers taking on Gujarat Giants in the first encounter. The match will be followed by Dabang Delhi K.C’s season opener against a revamped Puneri Paltan side managed by the legendary Anup Kumar. Three-time champion Patna Pirates will play Haryana Steelers in the final match of the day.


Fresh start

Both Jaipur Pink Panthers and Gujarat Giants will be looking to seal a statement victory in their first outing after a disappointing campaign in 2019. Despite making a strong start, Deepak Niwas Hooda’s men in pink fizzled out in the crucial stages of Season 7. But with Arjun Deshwal, a raider known for his ability to fetch points when there are four or five players on the mat, added to the attacking department, the Panthers will be quietly confident of a strong showing this time around.

But in their way will be one of the best defensive units of VIVO PKL Season 8 - Gujarat Giants have added Ravinder Pahal and Girish Ernak in the auctions to bolster a defence that already had the likes of Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal. The trio of Ravinder, Sunil and Parvesh play for the Railways (national), their teamwork and co-ordination will be key to Giants’ fortune after they lost their star raider Rohit Gulia to Haryana in the auctions.


Clash of the raiding giants

Dabang Delhi K.C. are arguably the team to watch out for this season. After topping the league in Season 7 and unravelling the future Kabaddi star in Naveen Kumar, Delhi went on to add stalwarts Ajay Thakur and Manjeet Chhillar to their squad in the auctions. The team, once again captained by the experienced Joginder Narwal, also added Sandeep Narwal and Jeeva Kumar in the auctions to add steel to the defence.

But all eyes will be on Naveen Kumar who showed great mobility and innovation to clinch 22 Super 10s (10 points or more) in 23 matches in Season 7. Naveen has the makings of a complete raider – mixing speed and quick thinking with athleticism.  From Hand Touch to Bonus Points, from Dubki to Back Kick, the raider has everything to be called a complete package.


Puneri Paltan had a difficult season 7 but the addition of Rahul Chaudhari, once considered the best raider in the league, will give them renewed hope. Rahul had an off-colour outing with the Tamil Thalaivas in Season 7, but the ‘showman’ raider will be confident under the guidance of coach and former Indian team captain Anup Kumar will help him get back to his best shape. It will be a match between the past and the present, but Rahul will be hoping he can emulate his Telugu Titans form which won him fans across the country.



A high scoring affair

The third match of Day 2 promises to be a high scoring affair. Both Haryana Steelers, and Patna Pirates, despite losing Pardeep Narwal in the auctions, have set up raid-heavy teams for Season 8, which should make an exciting match for the audience.

The raiding duo of Vikash Khandola and Vinay impressed for the Steelers in Season 7, scoring more than 100 points. Patna will be hoping their raiding trio of Monu Goyat, Prashant Rai and Sachin will be able to offset the loss of Pardeep Narwal, especially with the three-time champions lacking a strong defensive leader. Captain Prashant Kumar Rai was bullish of his team’s chances of making it to the PKL final but they will face a strong test against the Steelers on Day 2 of the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League Season 8.



Where to watch:

7:30 PM: Gujarat Giants vs Jaipur Pink Panthers
8:30 PM: Dabang Delhi K.C. vs Puneri Paltan
9:30 PM: Haryana Steelers vs Patna Pirates

Matches will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network and streamed live on Disney+ Hotstar.

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