It was time for U.P. Yoddha to pull their socks up, and they did it in style, registering a significant victory against table-toppers Jaipur Pink Panthers. In their only game in Chennai, this season UP handed an in-form Panthers their second defeat of the tournament. With a 31-24 victory, Yoddha moved three places up in the points table to take the eighth spot.
Though Deepak Hooda got the Panthers a 2-point lead with his successful first raid, Shrikant helped Yoddha level the scores, getting two touch points. Shrikant kept us in the game, earning touch points but the Panthers maintained their lead.
It was not until Surender’s touchpoint that Yoddha levelled the scores, yet again. With Shrikant getting rid of Deepak Narwal with a touch, and Sumit’s dash holding back Hooda, Yoddha took the lead.
While the raiders dominated initially in the first half, Sumit yet again shone with multiple commendable tackles. He remained the ace defender, with two crucial tackles. Close to getting the Panthers all-out, the opponents pulled off two super-tackles to again take the lead.
Surender emerged as the knight, first holding back Nitin Rawal, and then going for a successful raid with two touches to get the Panthers all out, with two minutes remaining in the first half.
With Amit tackling Narwal, and Rishank bagging a clever bonus point, the first half ended with a scoreline of 16-10 in our favour.
The Panthers started the second half with back to back strikes. First, the defenders tackled Rishank and followed it up with a super-raid from Hooda.
Left with three players on the mat, Mohsen entered as a substitute, as he provided an all-round option. Surender kept sneaking points, while Mohsen tackled Ajinkya Pawar in his do-or-die raid. We maintained a dominant 6-point raid, as Rishank led the Yoddha as a successful raider as well as an experienced mind to guide the side.
Taking an aggressive approach to the match, Shrikant was brought back on the mat, replacing Ashu Singh, to look for more raid points. He made an instant impact with a successful do-or-die raid, removing two crucial defenders Amit Hooda and Sandeep Dhull. He completed his 300 ProKabaddi points with the raid.
Though Hooda kept on fetching the Panthers points, our raiders and defenders looked in brilliant form and maintained the lead till the end of the match. As the final whistle went off, Yoddha had finished triumphantly with a 31-24 final score.
Youngster Surender was on fire, bagging seven raid points and a tackle point while Shrikant also gathered seven raid points. Among the defenders, Sumit again remained on top, with four tackle points.
Yoddha will next move to Delhi to play the hosts Dabang Delhi K.C. on Sunday.