The 8th season of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is set to undergo on Dec 22. The previous season was held in 2019 and PKL did not take place last year due to the covid-19 pandemic. This year the tournament will be played behind closed doors of Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre.
The first four days will see triple headers with the opening clash scheduled to be between U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls.
Who are the PKL betting favourites?
One of the favourites to win the tournament this term, Bengal Warriors, are also the defending champions
Two years back, the Kolkata-based franchise defeated Dabang Delhi KC in the PKL 7 summit clash to lift their maiden trophy. Even though Bengal have retained only two players from the championship-winning team, they have made up by signing some of the big names at the 2021 auction.
- A strong raiding department is one of the keys to success in kabaddi and Bengal have one of the most dangerous raiding units in the current season: India’s talented raider Maninder Singh, along with former UP Yoddha skipper Rishank Devadiga, Sukesh Hegde, new signing Sumit Singh, and Ravindra Kumavat.
- Bengal have a strong defense too, with Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh, who played a huge part in his side winning the title in 2019. The arrival of Abozar Mighani, one of the best defenders in PKL history, has further strengthened Bengal’s defense.
Three-time winners Patna Pirates are also favourites to win the eighth PBK season and take their title tally to a record four
- With the likes of Jang Kun Lee, Prashanth Kumar Rai, Sachin Tanwar, Monu Goyat and Guman Singh, Patna have one of the most destructive raids in the tournament. Sonu, Monu and Prashanth have individually led franchises’ raids in the past. This time, they are set to play together and could be dangerous for the opposition.
- They shocked the PKL fraternity when they let their skipper Pardeep Narwal go, who now has joined UP Yoddha. After failing to make the playoffs in the previous season, Patna will be desperate to bounce back.
Who is the pick from among the underdogs?
Due to their inexperienced defense, Tamil Thalaivas are not expected to be a threat to other teams this season. Even their raiding unit beyond their top two raiders (Manjeet & Prapanjan) doesn’t look that strong.
Players to keep an eye on…
The defense duo of Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar definitely make the list of players to watch out for in PKL 2021. The Gujarat Giants pair has been the team’s x-factors and biggest match-winners and hence, Gujarat are building their team around them.
All-rounder Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh of Bengal Warriors is another player who’ll have all eyes on him. In the 2019 edition, which was his debut PKL appearance, the Iranian star earned 122 points from 23 matches and 92 of those 122 points came via raiding.
Bengaluru Bulls’ raider Pawan Kumar Sehrawat had a massive influence in his side’s run last season. He was PKL 2019’s No. 1 raider and earned an incredible 360 points but despite that, his team failed to win the championship.
Among the new stars to watch out for, debutant Rathan K could take centre stage. After consistent performances for Karnataka in the domestic stage, he was picked by Gujarat Giants ahead of the 2021 season. Having played with the likes of Prashanth Kumar Rai, Jeeva Kumar and Sukesh Hegde, Rathan is an upcoming star. He could be an asset to Gujarat Giants, who are known to give the limelight to youngsters under their head coach Manpreet Singh.
Patna Pirates won the bidding war to secure Iran’s upcoming star Mohammad Reza Shadloui Chiyaneh. His primary position is in the left corner and is known for his body blocks, waist holds, and dives that completely tumble the opposition raiding unit.
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