U.P. Yoddha finished the group leg of this season’s ProKabaddi as the third-best team, beating the Bengaluru Bulls for the second time. Before Friday’s dominant win at the Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex, Greater Noida, Yoddha were placed fifth, just one place above the Bulls.
Though Nitesh held back Pawan Sehrawat, in the beginning, to earn us our first point, his 4-point super-raid helped the Bulls inflict an all-out early in the match on UP. The raid was a very close call for the umpires and our defenders tried to pull him back from the mid-line, and Bulls took a successful review to turn things around.
Sehrawat’s back-to-back strikes earned the Bulls a mega lead and the momentum shifted in favour of the Bulls until Surender Gill struck back with a 4-point raid. With eight minutes remaining in the first half, Yoddha got the Bulls all-out; the 10-point lead was now reduced to only four points.
The raid instilled confidence within the home outfit as they kept on reducing the lead, ending Bulls’ dominance in the match. Though Yoddha could not take lead in the half, they looked stronger and full of intent to win the match. The score-line read 22-20 in Bulls’ favour in the break.
The neck-and-neck fight continued in the second half of the match as well. While Surender alone dominated the first half, Rishank and Shrikant came into action in the second to increase the scoring rate and keep Yoddha in contention. Three minutes into the half, we got the Bulls all-out yet again and took the lead.
Nitesh clearly won his battle against Sehrawat as we managed to keep him off the mat for a significant time. In Sehrawat’s absence, there was hardly another raider to step up for the Bulls. On the other hand, all three of our raiders did a commendable job as Yoddha dominated the second half to eventually cruise to a 45-33 victory in the match.
Surender Gill emerged as a game-changer with his super raid and continued his skilful play under pressure while Shrikant and Rishank were impressive too. Ashu Singh registered his first high 5 performance and was the top-performing defender.
Incidentally, Yoddha will again face the Bulls in Eliminator 1 at Ahmedabad on Monday.