On a night when it was either go big or go home, UP Yoddha fired on all cylinders to win against Puneri Paltan 42-31 in Pro Kabaddi Season 8’s Eliminator 1 at Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, Bengaluru.
UP Yoddha, in fact, began on an eight-point deficit and an early all-out. They eventually scripted a massive comeback to set up a semi-final date with table-toppers and three-time champions Patna Pirates on Wednesday.
Pardeep Narwal was sensational, scoring 18 raid points, including three super raids, to bring up his ninth super 10 of PKL 8.
The corner combination of Sumit and Nitesh Kumar ensured the UP Yoddha defence stood tall. Sumit brought up his fourth high 5 of PKL 8 while Nitesh picked up three tackle points.
Puneri Paltan took an early lead, sending back Pardeep Narwal and Surender Gill to the bench. Within the first five minutes, Mohit Goyat and Aslam Inamdar had reduced UP Yoddha to two men, handing the Paltan a 5-0 lead.
The all-out came two minutes later for UP Yoddha as Puneri Paltan went up 9-1. However, UP Yoddha bounced back to turn the tables.
Back-to-back well-executed tackles from Sumit sent away danger men Mohit and Aslam first. Surender Gill also sent away one man on each of his raids to reduce Puneri Paltan to one man, who was quickly tackled, affecting a Puneri Paltan all-out.
UP Yoddha had levelled scores at 10-all and the game had already seen two all-outs in just the first 12 minutes.
Pardeep Narwal then pulled off a herculean five-point super raid, just managing to get a finger across the midline while five Puneri Paltan defenders pounced on him. UP Yoddha jumped to a 17-12 lead, and the Paltan were down to two men, again.
UP Yoddha handed Puneri Paltan a second all-out, and yet again, Pardeep Narwal welcomed them back with a 3-point super raid.
Having sat out in the first 10 minutes of the game, Pardeep made his presence on the mat in the next 10, picking up his ninth super 10 of PKL 8. At the halfway mark, UP Yoddha led with a healthy 25-17 margin.
Sumit brought in UP Yoddha’s first point in the next half and Pardeep Narwal followed it up with his third super raid of the night. UP Yoddha went up 29-19 three minutes in the second half.
One minute later, UP Yoddha handed Puneri Paltan a third all-out to extend their lead to 33-21.
Puneri Paltan’s substitute raider Akash Shinde brought in five points out of as many consecutive raids, but the lowest deficit UP Yoddha allowed was still a nine-point gap.
Eventually, a two-point raid from Pardeep and a tackle against Aslam Inamdar handed UP Yoddha a thumping 42-31 win, propelling the team into the semi-final of Pro Kabaddi Season 8.