In the opening match of the Pune leg in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 7, the Giants will face the home team Puneri Paltan at Shree Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports Complex on Saturday.
This season has been a rollercoaster ride for the Giants so far, and the growing concerns each passing day for the Giant Army is whether the team will reach the playoffs, and finally win that elusive title.
We are currently placed 8th in the table and there is no doubt that the upcoming two matches in Pune, where we face Puneri Paltan and the table-toppers Dabang Delhi will have a lot of say in our quest to make it to our third consecutive playoffs.
The Giants not only have a good record against Puneri Paltan, but are also unbeaten at this venue in the League. It was an evenly-contested affair when we faced Anup Kumar & Co in Patna, but in the end, Girish Ernak pulled off some good tackles to give the Paltans a thrilling two-point win.
Having been hailed as one of the best defensive teams in the tournament, the Giants didn’t have the best of outings against the Paltans, picking up just 8 tackle points.
All eyes will once again be on our Captain Sunil Kumar, who has been a rock in our defence this season. With four High Five’s and 41 tackle points, Sunil will definitely be a force to be reckoned with for the Puneri Paltan raiders. If Parvesh provides the necessary support in the cover, we will definitely dominate proceedings in Saturday’s encounter.
Our defence looked brilliant against the Yoddhas in the first half, but a few mistimed tackles in the second period overshadowed the incredible efforts of scripting a comeback. Even though Sumit and Ankit have made their presence felt with timely tackles, they were insipid in the dying moments and gave away easy points to the Yoddha’s raiders.
Injuries have hampered Sachin’s progress in the tournament but with renewed zeal and confidence, he can be a huge asset for us in the final stages of the tournament. His impeccable four-point raid last time out is just a sign of things to come.
The spot of the third raider in the side is still up for grabs, with both Sonu Jaglan and More GB regularly being replaced by the other in the Starting Seven. More GB’s contribution in attack and defence has bailed us out in tough moments, and it’s his all-round ability that could be trusted by Manpreet on Saturday.
Manpreet’s process of promoting youngsters for the big stage has worked incredibly well in the last two seasons, and in Season 7, he has shown a lot of faith in Sumit Malik and Ankit. Sumit, on the left corner, has pulled off stunning super tackles in recent matches, however, his consistency will be an instrumental factor if we are to keep our playoff hopes alive.
A career first High 5 will certainly boost his confidence, and we hope he will rattle the Puneri raiders to help us in our pursuit for a spot in the playoffs.
In the seven matches we have played against the Paltans in Pro Kabaddi League, we defeated them on six occasions. Considering the inconsistency in the Paltans’ recent results, we surely have an upper hand heading into the match, and if our defence fires on all cylinders, we should wrack up all 5 points.
Sunil Kumar (C), Sachin Tanwar, Rohit Gulia, Parvesh Bhainswal, More GB, Sumit Malik and Ankit.