Bengaluru: Buoyed by their convincing win over Telugu Titans in their very first outing in the Season 3 of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi, a rejuvenated Bengal Warriors will be looking to upset the applecart of Bengaluru Bulls on their home turf today. The visitors have proved that home advantage can be overcome and will be looking to replicate the feat in the lone tie scheduled on day 2 of the Bengaluru leg.
But their record against Bengaluru Bulls hasn’t been good at all. In the four meetings that they have had in the league phase in the seasons gone by the team from Kolkata, the ‘city of joy’ has never won. Bengaluru who thus have a major psychological advantage also know that this is another encounter against a team that has started with a bang by slaying the mighty Telugu Titans. So a keen contest is on the cards, a feast for the local fans, as the hosts too have made an impressive start with a runaway victory over Dabang Delhi K.C.
Surjeet Narwal the burly raider who is leading the Bengaluru Bulls will be the key factor. He has a young side that needs a guiding figure and his abilities to shepherd his young teammates will be tested. Bengal Warriors are aware of Surjeet’s capabilities and he will be their prime target.
If the form of Nilesh Mane the rival captain and new acquisition Girish Ernak, formerly of Patna Pirates is any indication then Surjeet may have to exercise lot of caution so as to not fall prey to the deadly duo. Keeping Surjeet off the mat as long as possible should be the visitor’s motto. How the home team defence which does not match with that of their rivals, negates the threat of the superbly fit rival raider Nitin Tomar will also be keenly watched.
Nilesh and Girish play for Maharashtra and know each other well. A glance or an eye contact is enough for them to close down on rival raiders in a pincer movement from the corners. Nilesh is intelligent and is known to judge the opportune moment very well. The youthful Girish on the other hand is a daredevil. Add to this Nitin More and Bajirao Hodage and you have at the core of the defence Maharashtra, known for being organised in defence.
The Bengaluru Bulls have banked on veteran Amit Rathi and Shrikant Tewthia who have come over from the Pune and Delhi sides to make up for their losses. But these two are definitely not in the same class as Manjeet Chhillar and Ajay Thakur who had an aura of their own. They have to come good with Deepak Kumar Dahiya who came with a five-point super raid against Dabang Delhi K.C.
The Bengal Warriors may have a surprise or two in store. In the opener they held back their do-or-die specialist, South Korean Jang Kun Lee. Mahendra Rajput, the tall cop from Maharashtra wasn’t impressive in that role and with Nitin Tomar and Mahesh Goud raiding well, bringing in Jang initially would help get a hold on the proceedings. The Korean is fit as a fiddle. Doesn’t his playing style remind of the greatest martial arts exponent Bruce Lee?
In the ultimate analysis it will be a fight between a host side, yet to settle down and the visitors who have a solid defence and a potent attack this season.