Rampant Thalaivas faces Paltan in Intriguing semi-final contest

UP Yoddhas (twice – once each in the double round-robin stage and play-offs), Gujarat Giants, Dabang Delhi and Telugu Titans gave it a go recently, but failed. Thalaivas opted to test its bench strength in its 22nd and final league match against Haryana Steelers, having already sealed qualification to the play-offs.
Tamil Thalaivas; Puneri Paltan
Tamil Thalaivas; Puneri Paltan

MUMBAI: There is one million-dollar question that is lingering in the minds of many Pro Kabaddi League fans. Can any team inflict a defeat on this rampant Tamil Thalaivas side, given the imperious form its first-choice ‘Starting Seven’ has been in at the business end of the Pro Kabaddi Season 9?

UP Yoddhas (twice – once each in the double round-robin stage and play-offs), Gujarat Giants, Dabang Delhi and Telugu Titans gave it a go recently, but failed. Thalaivas opted to test its bench strength in its 22nd and final league match against Haryana Steelers, having already sealed qualification to the play-offs. Although the southern side was handed a drubbing, the result hardly mattered as none of the regulars were involved in the action.

Two days after the unsuccessful attempt by Yoddhas in the second Eliminator, Puneri Paltan will be on a mission to end the Tamil Nadu team’s fairytale run when they cross swords in the semi-finals at the Dome, NSCI SVP Stadium, here on Thursday. But, TT, embodying the never-say-die attitude ever since Ashan Kumar’s appointment, will be a tough nut to crack.

Thalaivas is brimming with confidence after maintaining its composure during the crunch moments against Yoddhas. It was in danger of being knocked out despite leading for 39 of the 40 minutes in regulation time, but stayed uber cool in the final minute of normal time and the tie-breaker to enter the last-four stage.

Speaking about the semi-final contest, Ashan said: “Our team is in a good place and we will continue to work on our tactics. We will be clear in our roles and will work to ensure our coordination [on the mat] is not disturbed. We will continue to discuss the essential aspects. If we execute our plans well, we will undoubtedly perform well against Paltan.”

While Ashan is expected to stick to his tried and tested ‘Starting Seven’, opposition head coach BC Ramesh may have a selection dilemma since some of his players are in a race against time to be fully fit. In the ‘City of Dreams’, will Thalaivas keep its dream alive?

Pink Panthers takes on Bulls

Heading into the semi-final clash against Bengaluru Bulls, Jaipur Pink Panthers is in high spirits as it topped the table at the end of the league stage. Having decimated Delhi in the first Eliminator, Bengaluru will look to take the ‘bull’ by the horns. Jaipur will be keen to stay in the pink of health while Bengaluru will do everything to paint the town ‘red’.  

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