The UP Yoddhas began their home-leg of the Pro Kabaddi League season with a tight 34-33 win over the Bengaluru Bulls on Friday, at the Noida Indoor Stadium. Earlier in the night, the Patna Pirates raced to a 46-33 win over the Haryana Steelers.

Despite a slow start Pardeep Narwal registered 10 points to help the Yoddhas over the line in a game of fine margins.

The Yoddhas, who were on a four-match winless streak, hoped that home court advantage would turn their flagging fortunes around, but in the opening minutes it seemed unlikely. In the early exchanges, their talisman Narwal looked to be suffering, registering his first point on his ninth raid of the evening.

Fortunately, the Bulls were facing struggles of their own. Both teams’ weaknesses were exposed on a series of do or die raids midway through the half.

The game came to life in the final minute of the half, as Narwal followed up on his first successful raid with two more in succession, reducing the Bulls to a single player just as the whistle blew for the break.

The Yoddhas cleaned up right at the start of the second half to inflict the first all out and take an 18-14 lead. This didn’t deter the Bulls though, who kept coming at the Yoddhas, and made sure they could never extend their lead. Raid was matched by raid and tackles by smarter tackles.

Saurabh Nandal in particular was the architect of the Bulls defence having pulled off an exceptional four successful tackles from five attempts as the game went into the final five minutes.

Some clinical play saw the Yoddhas inflict a second all out on the Bulls to take a 33-26 lead with three minutes to go.

Narwal wrapped up a Super 10 with a minute of the game remaining, but the Bulls refused to give up, and came close to registering an all important all out in the dying seconds. As it was though, Sushil couldn’t get both the Yoddhas players out to leave the Bulls short by one point.

Pirates thump Steelers

Patna Pirates’ stellar all-round performance led the three-time champions to a comfortable 46-33 win, with Manjeet (13 points) and Krishan Dhull (5 points) were the best performers for the Pirates.

The game began on a cagey note as only five points were scored in the opening five minutes. The Steelers led 4-1 and worked it to an 8-3 lead when they reduced the Pirates to just one man.

But it was not the for the Steelers as Sachin Panwar came to the Pirates’ rescue by tagging two defenders to prevent the all out.

He then followed it up with a brilliant solo tackle on Vinay to inflict a super tackle. The Pirates trailed 7-8 at the 10th-minute mark and got on level terms three minutes later when skipper Neeraj Kumar executed a super tackle.

Sudhakar M produced a moment of magic in the 15th minute when he twisted and turned past Jaideep Dahiya and Ashish and the all out came right after as the Pirates led 15-10. Shivam Patare gave the Steelers some respite, but it was the 3-time champs who went into the interval with a 3-point lead at 18-15.

The Pirates’ defence was on song in the second half as they got six tackle points in 10 minutes, which paved the way for a second all out. Pirates’ lead raider Sachin also contributed with two tackle points, as Ankit’s dash on Shivam in the 29th minute saw the Pirates inflict the second all out and storm ahead to a 30-21 lead.

It was pure domination thereon from the Pirates as Manjeet got rid of both Mohit Nandal and Mohit to bring up a Super 10 against his former team and then Krishan trapped Ashish to complete his High 5. That powered the Pirates to inflict a third all out in the 36th minute and they took a massive 16-point lead at 41-25.

Steelers’ Rahul Sethpal completed a High 5 when he got Chinese Taipei’s Zheng-Wei Chen in an ankle hold and Vinay also went past the Super 10 mark, but it was too little too late as the Pirates cruised to a 13-point win.