U.P. Yoddha’s resolute defence and game management helped them beat U Mumba 35-28 in match 124 of Pro Kabaddi League Season 8.
The win clinched them a spot in the Season 8 playoffs. Surender Gill was U.P.'s top-scorer with eight points with defenders Ashu Singh, Shubham Kumar and Sumit picking three points each. The loss meant curtains for Mumbai’s campaign. They became the 4th team to fall out of the playoffs race. Mumbai's raiders Ajith Kumar and Abhishek Singh could not find a way past a well-oiled U.P. defence marshalled by captain Nitesh Kumar.
U Mumba needed a win to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot but it was Yoddha who started on the front foot. Pardeep Narwal scored a three-point Super Raid in their first raid of the match to set the tone. One could see the desperation in the Mumbai defence as they made unnecessary mistakes.
Ajith Kumar’s two-point raid in the eighth minute gave them a mini-revival but Yoddha kept piling on the pressure. Both defences opted for aggressive positioning on the mat and as a result, the raiders struggled for bonus points. Rinku’s Super Tackle on Pardeep Narwal with three minutes remaining to half-time helped them stay close to Yoddha. But Surender Gill kept chipping in with important raid points and revivals as Yoddha inflicted an ALL OUT with one minute to half time. That opened an eight-point lead. Mumbai tackled Pardeep Narwal in the last move of the half and entered the break with the scores 18-12.
Mumbai approached the mat with greater intensity in the second half. They tackled every U.P. raider who came their way. Abhishek Singh also got in the act with a two-point raid that helped Mumbai clinch an ALL OUT in the seventh minute after the restart. Mumbai’s left corner Rinku picked up his High 5 as Mumbai levelled the scores (20-20). Surender Gill thought he gave Yoddha an advantage with a three-point Super Raid with 10 minutes remaining. But Ajinkya Kapre immediately wiped its effect away with a two-point raid for U Mumba.
Mumbai sustained their aggressive defence with Fazel Atrachali and Rahul Sethpal also contributing to the points. With five minutes remaining, the scores were 27-26 with Mumbai leading by a solitary point.
Substitute Shrikant Jadhav picked up important raid points for U.P. as they opened a three-point lead with a minute remaining. That changed the momentum once again. Mumbai could not find a way past the Yoddha defence in the dying minutes and needed three points to tie the match in the final move of the match. Surender Gill had other ideas and clinched a four-point raid to inflict an ALL OUT.
Featured photo: Pro Kabaddi