Pawan Sehrawat did the star turn as defending champions Bengaluru Bulls outwitted UP Yoddha 48-45 after extra time in the first eliminator to qualify for the semi-finals of the Pro Kabaddi in Ahmedabad on Monday.
Star raider Pawan secured 20 raid points as the Bulls fought their way back to set up a semi-final clash with Dabang Delhi.
The UP side dominated the early minutes of a fiercely-contested first-half as Bengaluru struggled to get a stranglehold.
Bulls’ attack, heavily reliant on Pawan once again, with Rohit Kumar starting in the bench, struggled against well-organised Yoddha defence led by captain Nitesh Kumar.
UP had defeated the Bulls both the times they met during the league stages and looked in complete control with Shrikant Jadhav impressing in the raids.
UP inflicted an all-out on the Bulls in the 8th minute to open up a seven-point lead.
Nitesh produced stellar tackle in the first move after the all-out to send Pawan once again to the dugout but the Bulls finally had success in the defence with a successful tackle on Surender Gill with seven minutes remaining.
The tackle brought Pawan back on the mat and the star raider produced a stunning three-point super raid to halt UP’s dominance in the match.
Nitesh did produce a super tackle on Pawan with four minutes left to half time but the Bulls, buoyed by Rohit’s presence on the mat, secured their first all-out with a minute remaining for the break. The half ended 20-17 with UP on top.
Bulls dominated the starting minutes of the second half with Mahender Singh coming good in the defence.
With the defence scoring points, the Bulls sniffed an all-out and reduced the UP side to two on the mat.
But in Nitesh, UP had, arguably, the league’s best defender, and the captain produced two super tackles (in the 10th and 11th minute of the half) on Pawan to keep his team in the match and pick up a High 5.
Bulls’ Sumit and UP’s Shrikant impressed with their raids as the match entered the final four minutes with UP leading by 8 points.
Pawan produced some important raids to clinch an all-out with four minutes remaining. Bengaluru had a one-point lead going into the final raid of the match but Surender made a successful raid to level the points and push the point to extra time.
UP started the extra time on a high with a two-point raid by Rishank Devadiga that also sent Pawan to the bench but Sumit’s raiding and a combination tackle on UP’s Shrikant meant at half time in extra time there was only one point separating the sides.
Pawan produced a stunning four-point raid to give the defending champions a three-point lead but Monu Goyat immediately produced a two-point raid to make it a one-point game.
But Pawan cleaned up UP Yoddha to clinch an all-out that was enough to see the defending champions go through to the semi-finals in stunning fashion.
U Mumba cruise into semis
U Mumba produced an all-round performance to thump Haryana Steelers 46-38 in the second eliminator match of Pro Kabaddi League in Ahmedabad on Monday.
Raiders Abhishek Singh (16 points) and Arjun Deshwal (15 points) impressed for the season two champions who outperformed Haryana in all departments to book a semi-final date against Bengal Warriors.
A closely contested first half saw both teams trade blows in the initial minutes. Arjun Deshwal, returning from an injury, looked back to be in his best shape, as he picked up crucial raid points for the Mumbai side while at the other side Haryana’s raiding trio of Vikas Kandola, Prashanth Kumar Rai and Vinay picked up multi-point raids.
Twelve minutes into the match the scores were level at 10-10. But in Arjun Deshwal and Abhishek Singh, Mumbai had clever raiders who picked points with minimum risks and that finally told as they picked up an all-out in the final minute of the half. The all-out and the brief period of domination meant Mumbai led 22-15 going into half-time.
U Mumba certainly looked like they were enjoying their kabaddi on the mat and the unit, with the help of young Arjun Deshwal who picked up a Super 10, quickly secured another all-out in the fifth minute of the second half to open up an 11-point lead.
Abhishek Singh picked his Super 10 post the all-out but U Mumba’s relaxed approach in the defence allowed Haryana to initiate a comeback.
Vinay and Vikas Kandola, who picked his Super 10, impressed as the Steelers clinched an all-out in the 13th minute of the half to reduce Mumbai’s lead to 8 points.
Haryana continued to press but U Mumba’s raiders stepped up their game to take the game out of Steelers’ reach. Fazel Atrachali manned his team well in the final minutes to clinch a semi-final berth.
The semi-finals will be played in Ahmedabad on Thursday.