UP Yoddha stunned league leaders Jaipur Pink Panthers 31-24 in Pro Kabaddi to end their winning run in the competition at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Monday

Shrikant Jadhav (7 points) and Surender Gill (8 points) who was included in the team over star raider Monu Goyat, were the stars for Yoddha as they climbed to 8th spot in the league standings.

The match started with surprisingly poor defensive performances by both sides, with no successful tackles by either team till the 11th minute, despite having the league’s best tacklers in Sandeep Dhull and Sumit on the mat. But the game changed after the first tackle, with both teams, especially the Panthers producing a string of impressive Super Tackles to stay neck-to-neck with UP Yoddha despite a numerical disadvantage.

Shrikant Jadhav’s improved form kept the Jaipur men low in numbers on the mat as the UP team secured their first all-out with two minutes remaining in the first half – a two-point raid by Surender Gill taking out both Amit Hooda and Sandeep Dhull. Yoddha ended the half with a six-point lead (17-11).

The key to Jaipur Pink Panthers’ successful start to the season so far had been the low number of tackles suffered by captain Deepak Hooda who had managed to stay on the mat for long periods in the previous matches, helping his team control proceedings.

UP Yoddha ended the streak, keeping the all-rounder out for most of the match. However, having returned to the mat Hooda started the second half brightly for the all-rounder who picked up a three-point raid to start the proceedings.

But he picked up an injury in the process, something UP Yoddha, heavily marshalled by captain Rishank Devadiga, went on to capitalise. Devadiga, Shrikant Yadav and Surender Gill combined as a raiding unit for the team as they opened a 9-point lead with nine minutes remaining.

Deepak Hooda battled what looked like a troubled knee to keep his Jaipur side in the contest but the Yoddha defence held firm to register their third victory of the season.

Khandola stars in Steelers’ win over U Mumba

Raider Vikas Kandola did the star turn as Haryana Steelers beat U Mumba 30-27 for an important win in the earlier game in Pro Kabaddi on Monday.

The closely fought contest saw the Mumbai side match the Steelers till the very end, but Khandola’s nine-point game and some uncharacteristic errors from the U Mumba defence handed Haryana the victory.

Both sides went into the match with identical records (four wins and four losses in eight matches), but Haryana Steelers started aggressively, with coach Rakesh Kumar recognising the lack of raiding quality in U Mumba’s ranks.

The defence kept a high line, strangling U Mumba’s opportunities to pick up bonus points, thereby forcing them to make mistakes while Vikas Khandola picked up the points with his raids at the other end.

His super raid 12 minutes into the match set the tone for the Haryana side, that inflicted an all-out on U Mumba with three minutes remaining to half time.

Steelers led 16-8 at half-time.

In the second half, the introduction of raider Abhishek Singh by U Mumba brought about a change in their fortunes as his raids helped the team reduce the lead to just two points 10 minutes into the half.

However, consecutive Super Tackles by Ravi Kumar and Chand Singh, along with a few errors in the Mumbai defence quickly widened the gap to 25-17 in favour of Haryana with seven minutes to the final whistle.

Sandeep Narwal’s raid for Mumbai with six minutes left on the clock, taking out Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Chand Singh, once again put the game in balance and the subsequent all-out meant the gap was reduced to one point with less than three minutes remaining.

But the push came a little too late for Mumbai as they succumbed to another defeat this season.

The action now returns on Wednesday with home side Tamil Thalaivas taking Jaipur Pink Panthers after Puneri Paltan’s match against Bengaluru Bulls.

After Monday’s matches this how the points table looks like:

1 JAIPUR PINK PANTHERS 8 6 2 0 43 31
2 DABANG DELHI K.C. 7 5 1 1 30 29
3 BENGAL WARRIORS 8 4 2 2 52 28
4 BENGALURU BULLS 8 5 3 0 16 27
5 HARYANA STEELERS 9 5 4 0 -26 26
6 U MUMBA 9 4 5 0 0 24
7 TAMIL THALAIVAS 8 3 3 2 13 23
8 UP YODDHA 9 3 4 2 -67 22
10 TELUGU TITANS 9 2 5 2 -36 18
11 PATNA PIRATES 8 3 5 0 -15 17
12 PUNERI PALTAN 8 2 5 1 -27 14