Pune, Sep 16: Table-toppers Dabang Delhi will lock horns with Telugu Titans in their next league game in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 at Sree Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Monday (September 16).
Dabang Delhi are on a roll with back-to-back wins against Tamil Thalaivas and Gujarat Fortunegiants and the Joginder Narwal-led side would be looking to dominate in the remainder of the tournament.
The overall head to head record between these two teams goes in favour of Telugu Titans as the Hyderabad-based franchise defeated Delhi eight times in 11 games. Delhi has tasted victory in just two of games while one ended in a tie.
Dabang Delhi, however, have won the last 2 matches including their first encounter this season. In their first encounter of the season, Delhi defeated Hyderabad season by 1 point as they won a thriller 34-33.
Naveen Kumar had 14 raid points in the match for Delhi while Chandran Ranjit chipped in with 6 raid points. Captain Joginder Narwal led the way in defence with 4 tackle points and Ravinder Pahal scored 3 tackle points.
For Telugu Titans, Suraj Desai made his PKL debut in this match and set a new record for the most points on debut by a player, scoring 18 raid points. Siddharth Desai had 8 raid points in comparison and Vishal Bhardwaj had 4 tackle points.
Delhi are looking in a menacing form this season and they are seated comfortably at the top of the table. Telugu Titans' story has been just the opposite. They are languishing in the bottom of the points table and their playoffs hope also seem bleak. Dabang Delhi, however, won the last 2 matches including their first encounter this season.
Telugu Titans' Vishal Bhardwaj is 10 tackle points away from 200 tackle points in PKL. Their captain Abozar Mighani is 2 tackle points away from 150 tackle points in PKL. While Dabang Delhi's Meraj Sheykh is 7 points away from 400 points in PKL.
Siddharth Desai and Naveen Kumar both made an immediate impact in PKL 6 in what was their debut season. But their second seasons have gone very differently. Siddharth Desai has not matched the heights he reached in PKL 6.
Naveen Kumar meanwhile has already gone better than what he managed last season and is close to reaching 200 raid points for the first time in a season. There was nothing much to choose between the two raiders last season with Siddharth scoring 218 raid points and Naveen finishing with 172. But this season Naveen has already scored 70 raid points more and 11 more Super 10s than Siddharth.
With 185 raid points to his name, Naveen is just 15 away from reaching the 200 raid point mark in a season for the first time in his career. He is currently averaging just over 12 raid points per game, so it is very much a possibility that he could complete it in this match. Pardeep Narwal in PKL 5 (15th match) and Pawan Sehrawat this season (16th match) have been the fastest to reach 200 raid points in a season. If Naveen completes it against Titans, he will match Pawan's record of having done it in his 16th match of the season.
While Naveen Kumar has continued to fly high, the second raider has become a bit of a concern for Dabang Delhi. Chandran Ranjit was dropped for the last few matches due to non-performance with Meraj Sheykh preferred as the 2nd raider and Vijay playing as the all-rounder. Since the end of the home leg, no raider has averaged even 4 raid points per game while Naveen has been averaging close to 15.
Vishal Bhardwaj has scored 36% of Telugu Titans' total tackle points this season. While he has an average of 3.8 tackle points per game, no other defender has an average of even 2.0 tackle points per game. Right corner defender Abozar Mighani has been the season's biggest disappointment for Telugu Titans in defence as he has been well below his best.
Vishal is one of only 3 defenders to have reached the 50 tackle point milestone this season along with Sandeep Dhull and Fazel Atrachali. The trouble for Telugu Titans has been through the extremes of Vishal Bhardwaj. When he's been good, he's been brilliant, but when he's been off, he has had very bad games. 6 out of the 14 matches so far he has actually finished with 2 or fewer tackle points. This includes 2 matches with just 1 tackle point. He has made up for it with 4 matches where he scored big with 6 or more tackle points. With the team relying so heavily on Vishal in defence, Telugu Titans will be hoping for less of those bad games for him.