Pro Kabaddi 2019: Puneri Paltan up against patchy home form in bid for revival

The Nitin Tomar-led Puneri Paltan is currently languishing 11th in the table with 29 points from 14 matches.

Puneri Paltan has won just four times this season in 14 matches.   -  RAJEEV BHATT

Puneri Paltan heads into its home leg of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) harbouring hopes of making the play-offs for the fifth successive season.

The Nitin Tomar-led side is currently languishing 11th in the table with 29 points from 14 matches.

Pune has four games coming up over the week, with three of those against teams from the bottom six on the points table. The team will hope to register wins (as emphatically as possible) to try and inch closer to the top half of the pile.

READ : Pro Kabaddi 2019 playoffs, final to be held in Ahmedabad

Pune's form in home legs across seasons

The Paltan have had a mixed record in front of its home crowd at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex over the seasons.

Overall, they have 11 wins, 12 defeats and three ties from their home games in five out of the six seasons.

It will take heart from an improved showing in Pune last season where it won five matches, lost four and tied once across two phases of home matches.

Home leg itinerary this season

Puneri Paltan begins its home leg on Saturday against Gujarat Fortunegiants, which has had a distinct edge over them in their brief rivalry. Gujarat has beaten them six times in seven meetings while losing just once. It also beat Pune twice in its own yard last season.

Next in line is Patna Pirates who Pune beat earlier this season 41-20.The Paltan will hope to restrict an in-form Pardeep Narwal to the bench and hope its raiders come good when the teams face off this week.

Its next tie is with a struggling Tamil Thalaivas outfit. The teams had settled in their first tie of the season. However, both teams have had very different fortunes thereafter. A change in the coaching set up has not helped the Thalaivas' poor run this season and Pune will hope to take advantage of this and claim five easy points.

The hardest tie of the leg seems to be the team's last tie against the Bengaluru Bulls. Pune beat the defending champion 31-23 when they met last month but will not want to be complacent ahead of their second meeting. Riding on Pawan Sehrawat's consistency, the Bulls will be a tough side to beat. However, keeping Pawan quiet can give Pune and their chances of repeating their earlier result.

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Wins of over seven points is what Pune needs to prioritise on the drawing board ahead of the leg, especially keeping the points table in mind as the tournament nears its last quarter.

Manjeet has been Pune's standout player this year featuring in the top 10 points accumulator with 92 points. Pankaj Mohite, who made his debut this season, has supported Manjeet and chipped in with 64 points.

Puneri Paltan's home games:

vs Fortunegiants (8th)
14 September 7:30pm IST

vs Patna Pirates (9th)
15 September 8:30pm IST

vs Tamil Thalaivas (12th)
18 September 8:30pm IST

vs Bengaluru Bulls (4th)
20 September 8:30pm IST