After a one-week break, Gujarat Fortune Giants will be back on the Kabaddi mat to face Patna Pirates at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai, on Friday. The Giants started their VIVO Pro Kabaddi League campaign as one of the tournament favourites and justified the tag by thrashing the defending Champions, Bengaluru Bulls, and then the U.P. Yoddhas in their first two encounters.
After coming out on top against the solid Dabang Delhi outfit in our third outing, it looked like we would be dominant and overcome our opponents with minimum fuss. But what followed in the aftermath of our victorious start has been quite the opposite. We have been on a run of six winless games, including four in our home den.
The moments of joy have quickly turned into moments of despair in a matter of just two weeks for Manpreet’s young troops. In a fast-paced game like Kabaddi, it’s hard to ponder if a seven-day break could completely change our fortunes, however, it will certainly help erase a few memories of recent heartbreaking losses.
Despite those forgettable outcomes, Sunil Kumar has always proven to be the Giants’ Knight in shining armour, picking up three high 5s so far in VIVO Pro Kabaddi League Season 7. He will continue to lead our defensive line, and his battle with Pardeep Narwal will be a treat for the Chennai crowd.
If Parvesh and Pankaj do provide reliable support to an in-form Sunil Kumar, Patna’s attackers will be in for a tough night. Manpreet seems to have fixed the problems at left-corner by bringing in Pankaj, but it will be interesting to see his choice of selection in the right corner. Both options, Ankit and Ruturaj, are yet to show their prowess in Season 7.
In the attacking department, a lot has been expected of Sachin Tanwar, but it’s been a roller-coaster ride for him so far. His form will be key to our revival and we hope to see a vintage Sachin show in Chennai. A good performance could see him cross the 400 raid points mark in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history.
Sonu Jaglan caught everyone’s attention with that splendid performance against Bengal Warriors, and he should continue to be our third raider. Despite starting the season on a bright note, Rohit Gulia’s form and confidence has dipped significantly. Given his experience though, Manpreet should continue to back him and expect a strong performance from the nimble-footed raider.
Key Giant - Pankaj
It is definitely going to be a battle between Patna’s attacking force led by Pardeep Narwal against our stable defence. There is no doubt Manpreet will expect a lot more from our defence, especially from the corners. Pankaj had a dream debut against Jaipur Pink Panthers, notching up 6 tackle points, and he will be gunning to top that performance against the Pirates.
The Giants have defeated the three-time Champions Patna Pirates on four occasions in five encounters in the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League. Considering the Pirates’ solitary win against the Giants came in the Season 5 finale in Chennai, it would be a fitting revenge if we were to come out on top on Friday.
Sachin Tanwar, Parvesh Bhainswal, Pankaj, Rohit Gulia, Sunil Kumar (C), Ankit, Sonu Jaglan