Key Battle: A duel of brawn and brain between Sandeep and Maninder

Maninder Singh and Sandeep Narwal have a pretty even record in Season 7 and their face-off in the semi-final will decide an eventual finalist.

How Bengal Warriors’ Maninder Singh fares against U Mumba’s Sandeep Narwal will have a massive bearing on vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7’s final lineup.  

U Mumba will be eager to keep their winning momentum intact after their victory over Haryana Steelers in Eliminator 2 of vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7. The Season 2 champions will face Bengal Warriors in the second semi-final on the ongoing campaign with both sides vying for a spot in this year’s grand finale. Bengal Warriors have beaten U Mumba in both their previous encounters this season and they will fancy their chances in the semi-final as well.

Maninder Singh and Sandeep Narwal’s duel could be the highlight of Semi-final 2.

Head-to-head: Sandeep Narwal 11-10 Maninder Singh

Sandeep Narwal

Tackle Points: 11

Tackle Strike Rate: 52.38%

Average tackle points: 1.57

Maninder Singh

Raid Points: 11

Raid Strike Rate: 52.38%

Average raid points: 1.57

Sandeep Narwal is second on U Mumba’s leaderboard for tackle points with 53 this year and he will have a big role to play if the Season 2 champions are to neutralise Bengal Warriors’ talisman. Sandeep has had mixed fortunes against the Bengal Warriors skipper but is more than capable of stamping his authority against him.

The duo has had 21 duels on the mat through seven seasons and has exactly the same number of points against each other. Having fallen prey to the all-rounder’s brute strength, Maninder will be wary of Sandeep and look to avoid him snapping at the ankles as well as on the escape. Sandeep’s triumphs in duels against Maninder have come in the form of three Thigh Holds and five Blocks in their previous clashes, a testament to the fact that the raider has been outmuscled plenty of times.

Here is the list of moves Sandeep has successfully used against Maninder –

Block: 5

Thigh Hold: 3

Chain Tackle: 2

Dash: 1

While strength has been the U Mumba all-rounder’s go-to asset, the Escape has been Maninder’s preferred route to a raid point after gaining a touch on Sandeep over the years. The Bengal Warriors skipper knowingly exposes his blindside to Sandeep, giving him the illusion of the possibility of a Block or Dash. Maninder then quickly turns around and escapes Sandeep’s tackle attempt with a touch point. He has scored nine touch points via Escapes against Sandeep with the other two coming via of a bonus and a Hand Touch.

Maninder will not only be looking to win his duel against Sandeep but will also be aiming to find match rhythm after a lengthy layoff on the sidelines. He will back his ability to fluster an easily excitable Sandeep in Wednesday’s clash, as his performance will go a long way in determining if Bengal Warriors make their maiden vivo Pro Kabaddi final.