UP Yoddha produced a defensive master class to outfox Bengal Warriors 32-29 in a Pro Kabaddi League match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.
In the second match, Pawan Sehrawat shined as hosts Bengaluru Bulls put on a show for their home crowd to overcome the formidable Tamil Thalaivas side 33-27.
Nitesh Kumar was the star in UP’s defence as they tackled Season 7’s best raiding unit (19.8 average raid points before this match) out of the game.
Bengal Warriors, the team in form, raced to a quick start with their raiding trio of Maninder Singh, K Prapanjan and Mohammad Nabibakhsh looking in form and quickly took the lead.
For UP Yoddha’s, Monu Goyat’s absence in the team meant the raiding duties fell in the hands of an out-of-form Rishank Devadiga and the raider once again struggled to impress on the mat.
But Nitesh Kumar’s two Super Tackles kept the UP side in the game. Ankush came in for Yoddha with 7 minutes remaining in the half to salvage the situation and the young raider more than rose to the challenge, securing two touch-points in a do-or-die raid to bring his team back into the match. The half ended with the Bengal side leading 13-12.
The UP side had the momentum with them in the early minutes of the second half. Shrikant Jadhav produced an important two-point raid, taking out Rinku Narwal, K Prapanjan in the third minute and Yoddha went on to seal an All-Out in the 6th minute of the half to take a two-point lead (19-17).
UP’s defensive pair of Nitesh Kumar and Sumit were in outstanding form, not allowing Maninder and Prapanjan a chance to pick up points while at the other end Baldev Singh and Rinku Narwal were equally impressive for the Warriors’ defence.
UP moved to a three-point lead with less than three minutes remaining after Bengal tried to play on the do-or-die situations. The defence ensured they remained focused to see UP Yoddha through to an important victory and avenge for their 31-point defeat early in the season.
U.P. Yoddha are now placed 7th on the points table with 32 points (5 wins, 5 losses and 2 draws).