This is for the first time in the history of the PKL that former champions Patna Pirates are struggling. They are yet to win a game and the Pirates are at the bottom of the points table. This is truly shocking for their fans who have never seen the Pirates in shambles. Contrastingly the defending champions have continued the way they played in the last season. Consistency seems to be their second nature.
The core of the Pirates is more or less the same, but it is extremely hard to contemplate what is wrong with them. They lost to the Tamil Thalaiva in their last game by just a point, a game which they should have won or at least tied. They have conceded 186 points in 5 games which were due to 9 all-outs inflicted on them. They top this table which is not a statistic to be proud of. Their biggest concern is the drop in performance of captain Neeraj Kumar and left corner Mohammedreza.
Dabang Delhi was made to work hard against the Haryana Steelers in their last game as they won by 2 points. But all is well in their camp as Naveen Express continues to mesmerise everyone with his extraordinary talent.
Patna Pirates Preview
3-time champions, runners-up of last season seem to be lost this season. They are at the bottom of the points table as they go down the hole with every match. The Pirates are neither able to loot their opponents nor defend their treasure. Their fans thought that they were just warming up as they lost 2-3 games but the Pirates are losing matches quickly and without much of a fight.
Raider Sachin Tanwar has not been able to find his magical touch of last season which made him uncatchable. He has been able to earn just 40 raid points from 5 games. His name does not even figure in the top 10 raiders of the season. Partner Rohit Gulia has been working overtime but he has not been able to earn Super 10’s every match. What has made matters worse is that the Pirates do not have many young raiders as a backup. They have tried Monu and Sukesh Hegde but it has not worked for them. While their raiders have been unable to earn, their defenders are having butter fingers. Captain Neeraj Kumar has been disappointing while all-rounders Sajin and Mohammedreza have been ordinary. Defender Sunil has been the lone warrior for the Pirates as he conducted 16 successful tackles in 5 games.
The Pirates do not have much firepower and against the defending champions, they seem to be like a confused child in a huge mall. They lost to Dabang Delhi in the finals last year, this could have been their moment of redemption. But without any operational ammunition, the Pirates are heading toward disaster.
They need to replace the captain for a few games and also rest Sachin Tanwar so that they can reboot. Defenders Manish and T Yuvaraj can be given the responsibility to handle the defense and the Pirates need to follow the U Mumba or Gujarat Fortune Giants game strategy.
Dabang Delhi K.C. Preview
Dabang Delhi is in a phase where nothing wrong can happen to them. All their senior players who helped them clinch the title last year are gone, but Naveen Express chugs along nicely, halting at all defender stations. The most impressive aspect about Naveen is that he has not become complacent while keeping his hunger alive.
He has been in phenomenal form with 68 raid points which included 5 Super 10s. He still manages to loot points out of every opposition which keeps the Dabang high on victories. Young raider Manjeet has been a revelation as he has given terrific support to Naveen. Ashu Malik has also joined the party more often than not.
The Dabang defense has been agile and aggressive. Right cover Ravi Kumar and left cover Vishal have played an important role in their success. They have earned 26 tackle points apart from the 18 tackle points that defender Krishnan Dhull has procured. This augurs well for the defending champions as they have not faltered in tricky situations.
Dabang Delhi had tough games against UP Yodha and Haryana Steelers by holding their nerve to win those nail-biters. Their arch-rivalry with Patna Pirates is legendary as both teams have won 7 games out of their 15 meetings. But the Patna Pirates of season 9 are nowhere close to the earlier seasons, hence Dabang should not have much of an issue to domesticate them.
Dabang Delhi is in cryogenic mode as of now just like season 8 where they lost their first game almost after half the season had been played. That was also due to the injury to Naveen Kumar. Looks like Dabang Delhi is cruising toward another title.
PATP vs DDKC
PKL fans are always waiting for a mouthwatering contest between these 2 sides. But with their current form, it can’t even be called a David vs Goliath contest. Patna Pirates are down and dusted and they need to rise like a phoenix. But do they have enough willpower and self-belief? They will need to reboot and relook at the way they play. Sachin Tanwar has lost a yard of pace while their defenders are leaking points heavily. They will slow down the game against the defending champions. If Mohammedreza is not able to deliver, the Pirates will have to look out for other options.
Naveen Express along with bogies, Maneet and Ashu Malik is right on time in most of the raids. The Dabang defense is hot and spicy and it will be difficult for the Pirates to score. Dabang Delhi has a great opportunity to register a huge win and further cement its position at the top of the points table.
Dabang Delhi will win.