Prashanth Kumar Rai picked up crucial points at the fag end of the match to help UP Yoddha prevail over U Mumba 34-32 in a Pro Kabaddi wildcard stage match here at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
Rai, who came in as a substitute towards the end of each half, secured at least three super raids to give Yoddha the edge over Mumba.
Mumba, which has already progressed to the play-offs, played to improve its position in the points table but failed to contain the resolute challenge from the Yoddha, which is placed fifth in zone B.
Yoddha displayed better attack and tackling in the first half. The best display came in the middle stage when it collected nine successive points to recover from 5-8 to establish a 14-8 lead. It collected two additional points on getting Mumba all out.
Mumba, however, made a fine turnaround thereafter, launching a flurry of successful attacks, the best of which came from its Iranian raider Abofazl Magsodlou, who got three Yoddhas out in a single raid to make it 14-14.
Down to barely two men after this, the Yoddhas fought back valiantly. But Rai came in and executed two super raids to have Yoddhas leading 18-15 at half time.
This trend continued after the break as Rai got one more super raid towards the end of the second half securing two crucial points when the two teams were tied 32-32.
Patna Pirates all but out
Bengal Warriors qualified for the play-offs by outplaying three-time champion Patna Pirates 39-23 in the second match of the evening.
Maninder Singh was the best attacker, securing 11 raid points as the host led from the start to turn the tables on one of the most successful outfits in the history of the tournament.
The win saw Warriors jump to the second spot in the league table edging out Pirates with 58 points from 18 outings. With the current Zone B topper Bengaluru Bulls already making the cut, Bengal is the second team from the zone to make it to the play-offs.
The result: UP Yoddha 34 (Prashanth Kumar Rai 8, Rishank Devadiga 7) bt U Mumba 32 (Rohit Baliyan 10, Abofazl Magsodlou 5).
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