A step away from the final, UP Yoddha’s dream run in ProKabaddi 2018 came to an end as they conceded a defeat against a strong Gujarat Fortune Giants. The first half of the Qualifier 2 at The Dome, NSCI SVP Mumbai was a neck-and-neck fight between the two able teams but our opponents proved to be better in the second half, dominating with effective raids.

Winning the toss, Rishank chose to raid, just like in our previous match. Though Rishank himself went for the first raid, it was not Prashanth’s 2-point raid that we got our first points. The Fortune Giants proved to be extremely competitive from the very first minute and even though our Yoddha kept on doing good work on the mat, taking a comfortable lead eluded us.

Our opponents proved to be best to hold their nerves, and their raiders kept striking to the point that we were reduced to three. That is when our Yoddha pulled off a much-needed comeback with two Super-Tackles to Prapanjan – one by Sachin and the other Nitesh. Nitesh kept on his good work, and with consecutive successful tackles and raids, we eventually took the lead and revived rest of the team on the mat.

But our momentum was broken by Rohit Gulia as he came out to raid for the first time. In his first raid, he got two touch points and eventually, an All-Out was inflicted on us. The Fortune Giants lost their review towards the end of the first half. Both teams kept playing cautiously and the half remained a low-scorer. Our opponents took the lead to walk into the next half, the scoreline being 19-14 in their favour.

Fortune Giants dominated the second half thoroughly. They inflicted yet another All-Out quickly as the half started and stopped us from scoring at all. With our skipper Rishank feeling uneasy in his ankle, it added more advantage to them.

Our defenders tried their level best to pull the team up yet again. Nitesh completed his eighth ‘High 5’ of the season, and UP Yoddha finally got the scoreboard ticking yet again. With Nitesh’s sixth tackle points, he completed 100 tackle points in a season, a feat achieved for the first time in history.

Sachin went for a few successful raids, which lifted the team so far that we inflicted an All-Out on them. From our score being half of Fortune Giants’, we reduced it to a 7-point lag. However, it was still a lot to cover in 2 minutes.

Shrikant kept on striking with every raid, but a point each in a raid was less for the lead the Fortune Giants achieved. We made silly errors as we inched closer to the final hooter, and the match ended with a 38-31 scoreline in favour of the Fortune Giants. We finished the link at the third position.

Though it was not the best of UP Yoddha’s performances, Nitesh remained impressive with 6 tackle points. He received the TATA Ace Defender of the Match. Shrikant impressed, too, picking up 7 raid points.

Though it is the end for us in this season, we vow to come back stronger and better, and aim at the trophy in the next season. We thank all our fans for their constant support and hope for the same as we come back. Till then, it’s a wrap!