U.P. Yoddha and Haryana Steelers played out a 36-36 tie in match 49 of Pro Kabaddi Season 8 at The Sheraton Grand, Whitefield in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Yoddha had the lead for most parts of the match but Haryana staged a late comeback to win crucial three points in the race for a playoff spot. Haryana Steelers’ captain Vikash Kandola starred in the raiding department with 17 points and would have won the match for the Steelers had it not been for Surender Gill’s heroics at the other end. Gill scored 14 points for UP who will be upset with the tie after having an eight-point lead in the second half.
Haryana coach Rakesh Kumar started the match with just two raiders in Meetu and Vikash Kandola. The defensive strategy didn’t seem to work out in the initial stages however with U.P. Yoddha’s Pardeep Narwal inducing errors, Haryana managed to find their feet. UP’s Anshu Singh and Nitesh Kumar looked impressive although Yoddha got their first all-out with seven minutes remaining to open a five-point lead.
But Haryana were in no mood to let the match slip as Vikash Kandola helped them stay in touching distance from Yoddha. The first half ended at 14-13 with Yoddha in the lead.
Both teams kept matching each other in the early minutes of the second half. Vikash picked valuable raid points, but Haryana’s defence struggled. It was a case of too many cooks spoiling the soup as Jaideep, arguably their best defender, kept swapping positions to suit the formation. Yoddha’s Surender Gill scored a three-point super raid in the 10th minute to get them a three-point lead.
The shift in momentum helped them claim another all-out with nine minutes remaining to increase the lead to six points.
Coach Rakesh Kumar brought his third raider Rohit Guliya to the mat and switched to a traditional formation after the all-out. Yoddha defenders made a few errors in the dying minutes to give Haryana a big chance to inflict an all-out. Vikash Kandola produced a stunning five-point raid to reduce U.P.’s lead to just one point with slightly more than a minute remaining. He secured his super 10 in the process and then clinched another two-point raid to give Haryana the lead.
Surender Gill however had other ideas as he matched Vikash with multiple multi-point raids. But the Yoddha raider opted to play it safe in the last raid of the game to end the match in a tie.
Featured photo: Pro Kabaddi