Despite a blazing performance from Nitesh Kumar, UP Yoddha were defeated by the Bengaluru Bulls at the Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex, Greater NOIDA. Our Yoddha sought a good finish of our home-leg, heading to face the Bulls for the second time in the leg but were tamed by the opponents’ strategic play. The Bulls finished on top, with a scoreline of 27-37.
With a swift toe touch from Shrikant Jadhav to get Raju Lal Choudhary out, we were off with our first points. But Pawan Sehrawat’s successful raids soon got the Bulls the lead. Later, it was Nitesh who got rid of Pawan Sehrawat with a thigh hold. The Bulls kept on scoring points, inflicting an All Out on us and kept snowballing their total. Though our defenders got the better of their raiders quite a few times, it was not enough to make up for the lead and by the end of first half, we were trailing the Bulls 11-20.
In the second half, we came with some different strategy and young blood on the mat. Nitesh kept on pulling off brilliant tackles, completing his High 5 in the process. He alone stopped Sehrawat four times without failing and led the points chart for us. However, our raiders did not look to be in their best form, and raid points were hard to come our way.
The Bulls maintained their lead throughout the match, but Nitesh remained on top of his game. With a few last-moment points, Bhanu Pratap Tomar reduced the difference to some extent but that could not help our side seal a victory. With a 10-point lead, the Bulls finished off the final match of our home leg.
Thanks to his consistent performance, Nitesh took home five awards – TATA Ace Defender of the Match, UP Yoddha Moment of the Match, Gillette Mach 3 Total Control player of Greater NOIDA leg, Honda XBlade Most Stylish player of Home Leg and UltraTech Cement No. 1 Player of the Home Leg. He was the most successful defender of the match with 6 points while Rishank was our most successful raider with 5 points.