UP Yoddha began their Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 campaign with a 38-33 loss to defending champions Bengal Warriors at the Sheraton Grand Whitefield in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Pardeep Narwal was the top raider for UP Yoddha with eight raid points, followed by Surender Gill, who pocketed five. Among the defenders, Nitesh Kumar and Ashu Singh earned three tackle points each.

For the Bengal Warriors, all-rounder Esmaeil Nabibakhsh registered 11 points, raider Sukesh Hegde got eight raid points and captain Maninder Singh followed with seven raid points.

UP Yoddha started on the backfoot, and an early all-out pushed them 3-10 down in the scoreboard.

However, a couple of two-pointers from Pardeep Narwal after Nitesh Kumar’s tackle of Maninder Singh brought UP Yoddha to only a two-point deficit at 13-15, after a Bengal Warriors all-out.

The first half ended with Sumit and Nitesh tackling Maninder, leaving the teams level at 18 points.

Esmaeil Nabibakhsh then got four points in a Super Raid that opened the Bengal Warriors’ lead to six points. At 28-20, UP Yoddha were all-out with seven minutes left in the game.

Despite a tackle of Nabibakhsh by Nitesh and a handful of bonus points from Surender Gill, UP Yoddha only moved the score to 23-32. PKL debutant Rohit Tomar got an important point, which helped revive Pardeep Narwal, but the match still leaned towards the Bengal Warriors’ side, with the scoreboard reading 34-28 in favour of the champions.

The final nail in the coffin was a Super Raid from Sukesh, which added three more points to the team’s scorecard. A few more bonus points from Surender Gill and Rohit did not make a difference, as the result still sided the Bengal Warriors 38-33 at the end.

However, having lost the game by under seven points meant that the UP Yoddha have opened their account for PKL 8 with a single point on the standings list.

UP Yoddha will next play Patna Pirates on Saturday.