UP Yoddha’s dream-like journey in ProKabaddi 2018 continued, as we entered the playoffs with a gigantic victory over hosts Bengal Warriors at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium, Kolkata on Thursday. While Bengal had already qualified, the final spot depended upon our match today and we sealed it in style, with a massive margin of 16 points.

Rishank Devadiga’s bonus point started the proceedings for us. Though Prashanth was out in Bengal’s next raid, Rishank revived him with a touch point in his next. Though we were soon reduced to three, Rishank’s successful raid kept us going. In a brilliant tackle, Shrikant helped us not get All-Out, while back-to-back Super-Tackles – from Jeeva and Narender – revived our crucial players back on mat and won us the lead. Prashanth, as soon as he was back on the mat, pulled off a 2-point-raid which left Bengal Warriors with the last man and Nitesh Kumar’s ankle-hold to Bhupender Singh helped us pull off an All-Out on them with 8 minutes to go for the end of the half.

UP Yoddha looked at their best, as the raiders kept on picking up two points on average in each raid, showing off some amazing skills. The defense looked like a strong, unbreakable chain which does not let any of the opponents’ raiders to steal any point and by the time first half ended, we led by 8 points, with a 19-11 scoreline.

Scores kept flowing our way as the next half started. Our defenders kept our side protected, while Rishank, Prashanth and Shrikant kept pulling off successful raids. However, it was Sachin who got rid of the final two Warriors left on mat as we inflicted the second All-Out on them.

Rishank looked in a brilliant touch. His Super-Raid added further boost to our scorecard as we almost doubled the points to that of the Warriors. While most Bengal raiders tried not to enter in Nitesh’s vicinity, rest of our defenders proved their abilities and did not let them earn any point.

We are falling short of adjectives for Nitesh, who once again put up a High-5 performance. He thus registered the most tackle points (82) in the group stage. He got yet another point in Bengal Warriors’ next raid, in a single-handed tackle.

Bengal kept committing silly errors, and even conceded few technical points. Amit came with some last minute points, but our Yoddha pulled off an All-Out for the third time. We had the final laugh in the final match of the group stage, finishing with a 41-25 scoreline.

Our captain Rishank displayed a top-notch performance, showing all the qualities of a true leader. With 9-points in the match, he was the best raider and received the VIVO Perfect Raider of the Match award. Nitesh, like any other day, was the top defender and received the TATA ACE Defender of the Match award for his 6 tackle points. Rishank also received the FBB Moment of the Match award for his Super-Raid. Nitesh wore the Orange Sleeve for emerging as the best defender with 83 tackle points.

Our next mission: defeat U Mumba in the eliminator to move towards final!