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Dabang Delhi K.C. and Patna Pirates aim to leapfrog Bengaluru Bulls on points table

Pardeep Narwal and U.P. Yoddha will go head-to-head against Naveen Kumar and Dabang Delhi K.C in the first game. That will be followed by Fazel Atrachali and U Mumba battling Siddharth Desai and the Telugu Titans. In the main event, coach Manpreet Singh’s Gujarat Giants will face the Patna Pirates, the team he led to the title as captain in Season 3.

Ahead of these tantalizing contests, check out our preview for all three matches:

Match 40: U.P. Yoddha vs. Dabang Delhi K.C.

U.P. Yoddha have had a slow start to their campaign. They have won only one of their six games so far are currently 10th on the points table. Despite the team’s unideal start to the season, coach Jasveer Singh won’t be too concerned. U.P. Yoddha were off to poor starts in Season 6 and Season 7 but reached the playoffs in both campaigns. If history is anything to go by, expect U.P. Yoddha to get stronger as the season chugs along. But the team, especially raider Pardeep Narwal, needs a confidence boost, and a win over the in-form Dabang Delhi K.C. could provide the jumpstart their campaign needs.

Dabang Delhi K.C. remain the only unbeaten team in vivo PKL this season. They have won four and tied two of their six games so far. Raider Naveen Kumar is on pace for a record-shattering campaign. The reigning MVP has taken just six games to cross 100 points and has scored over 50% of his team’s total points this season. Naveen’s exploits aside, Delhi does have a chink in their armour that could be a concern. Their defence has been brittle at times, and they’ve needed career-best nights from Naveen to win a couple of games. Delhi could be the toughest team to beat this season if their defensive unit can be more compact and consistent.

U.P. Yoddha vs. Dabang Delhi K.C. head-to-head

U.P. Yoddha have played five games against the Dabang Delhi K.C. and have won four, losing only one.

Match 41: U Mumba vs. Telugu Titans

U Mumba will be content with the season they’ve had so far but will be the first to admit they could do better. They are fifth on the points table with two wins, three ties and one loss. They could jump to third with a win, provided the Gujarat Giants beat the Patna Pirates by a good margin. Barring their season-opener, U Mumba are yet to have a game where both their offence and defence have clicked together. Rookie head coach Rajaguru Subramanian’s young team have been good so far, but they’ll need to take their game up a notch or two if they want to contend for the vivo PKL title with the best teams in the league.

The Telugu Titans are now the only team without a win this season, but they could’ve easily had multiple victories. They have lost three games by a point, another by two and tied the other two games they’ve played this season. It’s been a gut-wrenching season, but not one without positives. Ankit Beniwal and Rajnish’s meteoric rise in Siddharth Desai’s absence has been a sight to behold. If those two can continue their recent form when Desai returns to the mat, the Titans could turn their fortunes around and swiftly climb up on the points table.

U Mumba vs. Telugu Titans head-to-head

Through 12 matches, U Mumba hold a 6-4 lead over Telugu Titans in their head-to-head clashes. Two games between them have finished in ties.

Match 42: Gujarat Giants vs. Patna Pirates

The Gujarat Giants have won just one of their six games and are currently languishing at ninth on the points table. Their young raiding unit has done well, but it’s their defence that has been thoroughly disappointing so far. Their starting defensive unit of corners Ravinder Pahal and Girish Maruti Ernak and covers Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil have a combined 1,000 tackle points in vivo PKL. But the Giants are currently averaging just 7.67 tackle points in Season 8, the fewest in the league. Gujarat’s defensive unit needs to find their footing soon for the team to turn around their tumultuous start to the season.

The Patna Pirates have enjoyed a sensational start to Season 8. They have won four, tied and lost one game each in their six matches so far, and sit third on the points table with a game in hand over league-leaders Bengaluru Bulls. Their raiding trio of Sachin, Monu Goyat and Prashanth Kumar Rai has not only been consistently delivering on offence, but they have also pulled their weight on defence. The Pirates’ all-hand-on-deck approach to defence has led to them leading the league in every defensive statistical category. A stellar raiding trio and a fearsome defence have made Patna one of the teams to beat this season and it will take a near-flawless performance from a team to sink the Pirates.

Gujarat Giants vs. Patna Pirates head-to-head

The Gujarat Giants and Patna Pirates have faced each other seven times in vivo PKL. The Giants have emerged victorious on five occasions, while the Pirates have registered two wins over Gujarat. The two met in the vivo PKL Season 5 final, which the Pirates won 55-38.

PKL Schedule for Saturday, January 8

Match 40: U.P. Yoddha vs. Dabang Delhi K.C., 7:30 PM IST

Match 41: U Mumba vs. Telugu Titans, 8:30 PM IST

Match 42: Gujarat Giants vs. Patna Pirates, 9:30 PM IST

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