The Haryana Steelers edged out UP Yoddha with a strategic bonus in their final raid to win 36-35 in their second encounter of Pro Kabaddi Season 8 at Sheraton Grand, Whitefield, in Bengaluru on Sunday.

The result ended UP Yoddha’s five-match unbeaten streak as well. This was also UP Yoddha’s first match in Pro Kabaddi Season 8 without Surender Gill on the mat. 

Shrikant Jadhav earned his second super 10 of Pro Kabaddi Season 8 while defenders Shubham, Nitesh and Sumit scored four, three and two tackle points, respectively.

Rohit Gulia top-scored for the Steelers with seven raid points while Jaideep Kuldeep and Mohit got handy high 5s to help the team win the game. 

It was an equally matched first half, with the biggest difference between the teams worth just three points. At the five minute mark, UP Yoddha had a slender 5-4 lead, and then extended it to 8-5. 

However, two super tackles from Haryana Steelers brought the team level to 9-9 and from then on, the teams took a point for a point. The Steelers finished the first half with a 15-14 lead, but they had reduced UP Yoddha to just three men - Ankit, Ashu and Shubham. 

The second half swung the Steelers’ way immediately as they inflicted an all-out on UP Yoddha in the first three minutes, taking a 20-16 lead. 

Haryana Steelers accelerated away to a 29-20 lead, aided by effective raids from Rohit Gulia and tackles from Jaideep Kuldeep and Mohit. Nitesh Kumar was the lone man standing, and was substituted for Iranian Mohammad Taghi. 

Taghi immediately brought about a revival for UP Yoddha with a four-point super raid, taking out three Haryana Steelers’ defenders and saving the team from a potential second all-out. 

Pardeep Narwal completed a powerful raid next, pushing Rohit Gulia across the mat towards UP Yoddha’s side to earn a point and reduce the team’s deficit to 28-31.

The Yoddha immediately inflicted an all-out against Haryana Steelers to close the gap at 31-32. A Mohammad Taghi tackle followed by a three-point super raid from Shrikant Jadhav pushed UP Yoddha to equalise scores at 35-all with under two minutes left. 

A few empty raids later, Steelers’ Vinay ran into UP Yoddha’s defensive unit to claim a single bonus point before strategically running down the clock and tilting the result towards the Haryana Steelers. 

This result has put both UP Yoddha and Haryana Steelers at 39 points each from 13 games. UP Yoddha are fourth in the PKL standings, given a better score difference of 17 as opposed to Haryana Steelers’ -22, who are fifth. 

UP Yoddha will next play Jaipur Pink Panthers on Thursday.