UP Yoddha inched closer to the trophy, beating a strong U Mumba and qualifying for Eliminator 3. We settled score with the Mumbai lads, as with our consecutive victory over them earned us a ticket to the next round. Yoddha looked determined and strong to tame Mumba in both halves to achieve a comfortable victory of 34-29.
Winning the toss, Rishank Devadiga chose to raid first but the first point went to U Mumba as Siddharth Desai got rid of Narender. Shrikant’s raid to get Surender out levelled the scores while Prashanth and Nitesh soon got into action to keep the points coming. Nitesh made Siddharth Desai his bunny and kept on striking against him. Soon, Yoddha left few men on the mat and eventually got them All-Out with 8 minutes remaining in the first half. However, U Mumba struck back as their defenders did not let our raiders have much composure on the match post the All-Out, but our defenders were on top. Nitesh earned 4 points in the first half itself. Though Narender committed some initial errors, he proved to be vital later, along with seasoned campaigner Jeeva. We entered the break with a lead of 18-15.
Back for the second half, Nitesh completed his seventh High 5 with a brilliant ‘in the air’ tackle to Darshan Kadian. U Mumba lost their review soon, reviewing for Rishank’s successful raid. With a lead of 5 points with us and 15 minutes to go, U Mumba looked under pressure. Our defenders remained consistent and kept us in the lead which made Mumba commit more errors.
Though U Mumba reduced our lead with some successful raids and tackles, the united force of Jeeva, Nitesh and Sachin pulled off a Super-Tackle to increase it yet again. Jeeva bagged his first High-5 of the season. Nitesh showed some unbelievable skills, taking down raiders’ attempts of ‘dupki’ to earn back-to-back points.
U Mumba brought in their final trump card, Abhishek Singh who looked quick on the mat and earned his team a much-needed point. However, Nitesh got the better of him as well, with a single-handed double-thigh hold tackle.
Siddharth finally won the battle against Nitesh in his final raid, but it seemed too late for them as there were only 28 seconds left to go for the final moment. As the hooter went off, we entered the Eliminator 3 to claim our share on the trophy.
With 8 tackle points from 10 attempts, Nitesh Kumar was once again the TATA Ace Defender of the Match. Jeeva’s crucial Super-Tackle earned him the Moment of the Match award while Rishank was happy to receive the HDFC Life Winning Captain of the Match award.
We will face the winner of Eliminator 2 in Eliminator 3 to move to Qualifier.