UP Yoddha snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating Telugu Titans, while U Mumba and Haryana Steelers also picked up wins in the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL 8) on Saturday.
UP Yoddha jumped to the sixth spot, while U Mumba took the fifth and Haryana Steelers remained fourth.
- U Mumba beats Tamil Thalaivas -
The first game of the evening saw U Mumba beat Tamil Thalaivas 35-33. Thalaivas fought valiantly after a dismal first half to make it a close affair in the final minutes, but U Mumba's captain Fazel Atrachali marshalled his defence well to seal the win.
Abhishek Singh scored 10 points for U Mumba while defenders Rinku, Fazel and Rahul Sethpal bagged three points each. Thalaivas raiders Manjeet and Ajinkya Pawar scored seven points each.
The first half was completely dominated by U Mumba with raiders Abhishek and Ajith Kumar finding easy points against a disjointed Tamil defence. Ajith, playing against his former team, donned the secondary raider role to perfection and ensured U Mumba got its first All Out in the ninth minute to open a six-point lead.
Abhishek crucial three-point Super Raid paved way for another All Out with four minutes remaining in the half. The Thalaivas had no control in the first – perhaps best summed by captain Surjeet’s bizarre decision to go in for a raid and not cross the touch line thereby making it an illegal raid. The scores were 26-11 at the interval with U Mumba soaring ahead.
The 15-point gap didn’t dampen the spirits of the trailing Thalaivas as they started the second half on the front foot. A Super Tackle on Abhishek followed by a two-point raid from Manjeet changed the direction of the wind. Ajinkya then got a two-point raid (+2 for All Out) to complete the clean-up act and further reduce U Mumbais lead.
Ajinkya came to the fore yet again as his two-point raid in the 35th minute made it a four-point game and gave his side a sliver of hope. But Fazel and Harendra Kumar clinched two successful tackles to take the match away from Thalaivas’ grasp and secure the win.
- UP Yoddha comes from behind to beat Telugu Titans -
In the second match of the evening, raider Surender Gill helped UP Yoddha to a 39-35 win over Telugu Titans.
Telugu Titans had a four-point lead going into the final five minutes of the match but lost the plot as Surender wreaked havoc. He scored a Super 10 (12 points) and was ably supported by his partner Shrikant Jadhav (nine points). Telugu Titans Rajnish was the best player on his team as he scored a Super 10 (13 points).
Telugu Titans had Rajnish and Ankit Beniwal back on the mat and that helped the side to a strong start. The duo kept chipping away at the Yoddha defence, but Surender was equally good. Shrikant also chipped in with valuable raid points as the side secured an All Out in the 15th minute.
The Titans, placed bottom of the points table, were playing for pride and immediately wiped off the points gap. Rajnish raced to nine raid points, while substitute Adarsh T contributed with clever raids in Super Tackle situations. The Titans inflicted an All Out in the final raid of the half to secure a four-point lead at 22-18.
The lead kept see-sawing between the teams in the early minutes of the second half. UP Yoddha levelled the scores immediately after the restart but a stunning Super Tackle by Prince on Surender once again paved way for a brief period of Telugu dominance. Rajnish got his Super 10 as the Titans maintained a four-point gap with 10 minutes remaining.
Adarsh clinched a two-point raid in a do-or-die situation to further improve the Titans’ lead. But Surender was a constant thorn in the Titans defence as he made it a one-point game with two minutes remaining. That also gave UP Yoddha the momentum to inflict an All Out and claim a three-point lead. The lead proved too much for the Titans to overcome as they succumbed to another morale-depleting loss.
- Haryana Steelers eases past Jaipur Pink Panthers -
Vikash Kandola was Haryana Steelers' match-winner once again as he starred with a Super 10 in his side's 35-28 win over Jaipur Pink Panthers.
The Steelers remained ahead from the get-go and opened up a 11-7 lead in quick time. Vikash ran circles around the Panthers' defence, while Deepak Hooda kept his side in the reckoning. Arjun Deshwal had a fairly muted game and the Steelers defence held on to ensure the side remained ahead at the interval.
Jaipur Pink Panthers' captain Sandeep Dhull made two superb tackles right after the break to bring up his High-5 and level the scores. Just when it seemed like the Panthers would sneak ahead, Mohit pulled off a Super Tackle to make it 26-26. It was one-way traffic there on as the Steelers defence put up a resolute display, while Vikash led from the front and picked up the crucial points to help his side to a second successive win.