Bengal will be hoping to get into contention for a top-four spot while Bengaluru Bulls will be looking for a win to take over the top spot in the points table from Dabang Delhi K.C.
Bengal Warriors, the cup holders have had a stuttering start to their title defence with only captain Maninder Singh and all-rounder Mohammad Nabibakhsh producing note-worthy performances. Pune have also started the season on the backfoot with their experienced stars not producing the expected output.
Challenges aplenty for Bengal
The Warriors have just 17 points with three wins in seven matches in Season 8. Maninder Singh has lacked a good secondary raider to revive him which has seen the captain take a safer approach on the mat. Sukesh Hegde has struggled while Mohammad Nabibakhsh has been entrusted with too many tasks. The Iranian all-rounder has looked impressive in Super Tackle situations, but a kabaddi team needs more than two men actively trying.
Maninder has constantly targeted the left of defence and Pune's Vishal Bharadwaj will certainly have a task on his hand. The corner defender has looked hasty all season and will need ample support from the right corner and cover to stop Maninder.
In Aslam Inamdar, Pankaj Mohite, and Mohit Goyat, Pune have three outstanding young kabaddi players. But coach Anup Kumar has struggled to get the best out of the 'rio. Aslam's raw power and energy is something that the coach will be wanting his team to use more during the raids.
At the other end, Pankaj Mohite and Mohit Goyat can take turns to raid, thereby conserving their energy. The strategy for Pune should be to avoid Do-or-Die raids. With three quality raiders in the ranks, they should attack more often and try to put the pressure on a Bengal defence low on confidence.
Bulls keep marching on
The Bengaluru Bulls have looked like they aren't going full throttle, yet which will be a concern for opponents considering how the Season 6 champions are still picking up wins.
Pawan Sehrawat has spent a surprisingly long time in the dugout this season while Chandran Ranjit has not yet produced a stellar performance. The match is often won in 5-10 minutes where Pawan Sehrawat decides to switch the gears. U.P. Yoddha's task will be to prevent Pawan from doing this to their defence.
The attack is often the best form of defence and Yoddha's raiding duo of Surender Gill and Pardeep Narwal will need to be aggressive against the Bengaluru defence. Surender Gill has efficiently donned the role of lead raider for Yoddha with Pardeep Narwal still moving gingerly on the mat. The two will need to be switched on right from the beginning of the game.
A defensive approach against the Bulls seldom works as Pawan can produce multi-point raids at any given time. A high-scoring kabaddi match is certainly on the cards.