Pawan Sehrawat was the star as defending champion Bengaluru Bulls outwitted U.P. Yoddha 48-45 after extra-time in the first eliminator to qualify for the semifinals of ProKabaddi League season seven in Ahmedabad on Monday.
Star raider Pawan secured 20 raid points as the Bulls fought their way back in front of a packed audience at the EKA Arena to set up a semifinal clash with Dabang Delhi.
U.P had defeated the Bulls both the times they met during the league stages and looked in complete control with Shrikant Jadhav impressing with his raids.
The U.P side dominated the early minutes of a fiercely-contested first-half as Bengaluru struggled to get a stranglehold. Bull’s attack, heavily reliant on Pawan once again, with Rohit Kumar on the bench, struggled against the well-organised Yoddha defence led by captain Nitesh Kumar.
Nitesh produced a stellar tackle immediately after the first All-Out to send Pawan once again to the dugout. The scoreline read 19-10 in favour of U.P at that time. However, the Bulls finally had success in defence with a successful tackle on Surender Gill with seven minutes remaining.
AS IT HAPPENED| Pro Kabaddi Eliminators: Bengaluru and Mumbai reach semis
The tackle brought Pawan back on the mat and the High Flyer produced a stunning 3-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 substitute Rohit’s presence on the mat, secured its first All-Out with a minute remaining for the break. The half ended 20-17 with U.P on top.
Bulls dominated the starting minutes of the second half with Mahender Singh coming good in the defence. With Bengaluru defenders racking up tackle points, UP was reduced to two on the mat.
But in Nitesh, U.P 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 he picked up a High-5 in the process.
The match entered its final five minutes with the Yoddha leading by 8 points. However, Pawan produced some crucial raids in the next two minutes to clinch an All-Out for the Bulls, thereby reducing the deficit. Bengaluru had a one point lead going into the final play of the match but Surender Gill produced a successful raid to level the points and push the match into extra-time.
U.P began extra time on a high with a two-point raid by Rishank Devadiga that also sent Pawan to the bench but Sumit Singh’s raiding and a team tackle on U.P’s Shrikant meant at extra-time break there was only one point separating the sides.
Pawan produced a stunning four-point raid to give the defending champion a three-point lead and he eventually clinched an All-Out as well. That was enough to see Bengaluru Bulls through to the semifinals.
- MUMBAI BEATS HARYANA TO MAKE FIRST SEMIS SINCE SEASON THREE -
U Mumba produced an all-round performance to outwit Haryana Steelers 46-38 in the second eliminator match on Monday.
Raiders Abhishek Singh (16 points) and Arjun Deshwal (15 points) impressed for the season two champion which outperformed Haryana in all departments to book a semifinal date with Bengal Warriors.
A closely-contested first-half saw both teams trade blows in the initial minutes. Arjun Deshwal, returning from an injury, looked to be in his best shape, as he picked up crucial raid points for the Mumbai side, while at the other end Haryana’s raiding trio of Vikas Kandola, Prashanth Kumar Rai and Vinay produced multi-point raids.
12 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 the team finally inflicted an All-Out on Haryana in the final minute of the half. The All-Out and the brief period of domination meant Mumbai lead 22-15 going into half-time.
U Mumba certainly looked like it was enjoying its kabaddi on the mat and the unit, with the help of young Arjun, 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 also picked up a Super-10 post the All-Out but U Mumba’s relaxed approach in defence allowed Haryana to initiate a comeback. Vinay and Vikas 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 match out of Steelers’ reach. Fazel Atrachali manned his team well in the final minutes to clinch a semifinal berth.
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