Pro Kabaddi PKL 8: UP Yoddha, Dabang Delhi qualify for play offs; Pawan Sehrawat keeps Bengaluru Bulls in contention

While UP Yoddha and Dabang Delhi qualified for the play-offs with wins over U Mumba and Patna Pirates respectively, Bengaluru Bulls thrashed Haryana Steelers in its final match to keep its play-off hopes alive.

Captain Pawan Sehrawat's (centre) all-round performance led Bengaluru Bulls to a 46-24 win over Haryana Steelers in the Pro Kabaddi League 8 in Bengaluru on Thursday.   -  PKL

UP Yoddha’s resolute defence and game management helped it beat U Mumba 35-28. The win clinched the team a spot in the Season 8 playoffs. Surender Gill was UP'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. It became the fourth 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 UP defence marshalled by captain Nitesh Kumar.

RELATED| Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: UP Yoddha qualifies for playoffs with 35-28 win, U Mumba eliminated

U Mumba needed a win to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot but it was UP Yoddha which started on the front foot. Pardeep Narwal scored a three-point Super Raid in UP's first raid of the match to set the tone. One could see the desperation in the Mumbai defence as it 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.

In a team that's coached by the iconic Anup Kumar and features established stars such as Nitin Tomar, Rahul Chaudhari and Vishal Bharadwaj, one youngster has come come along and stolen the limelight - Aslam Inamdar. The young raider hailing from Taklibhan in Maharashtra has made coaches and fans turn around and take notice of his aptitude for the game and stunning skill set. From braving a broken leg to dealing with a tough financial situation at home, Aslam has overcome adversities aplenty to pursue his dream of becoming a professional kabaddi player.

Aslam is the first guest in Sportstar's special series - the Future Kings of Kabaddi.

 

Mumbai approached the mat with greater intensity in the second half. It tackled every UP raider who came its 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 its aggressive defence with Fazel Atrachali and Rahul Sethpal also contributing to the points. With five minutes remaining, the score was 27-26 with Mumbai leading by a solitary point.

Substitute Shrikant Jadhav picked up important raid points for UP as it 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.

- Bengaluru Bulls thrashes Haryana Steelers, keeps play-off hopes alive -

Pawan Sehrawat's stellar performance guided Bengaluru Bulls to a 46-24 victory against Haryana Steelers. The Bulls desperately needed a win to stay in contention for a playoff spot and their captain delivered on cue. The 'Hi-Flyer' scored 20 points (which included seven tackle points) with a dominant second-half performance that took the match completely away from the Steelers. Haryana missed out on an opportunity to secure a playoff berth with the loss and will now have to beat table-topper Patna Pirates in its final league match. Bengaluru completed all of its 22 games and now will wait for other results to learn its fate.

RELATED| Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Pawan's all-round show helps Bengaluru Bulls crush Haryana Steelers 46-24

The defences dominated the first half with both sets of raiders struggling to have any impact. The Steelers had no raid points in 15 minutes as the Bulls tackled relentlessly. Even its raiders Bharat, Pawan Sehrawat and Chandran Ranjit contributed with tackle points as it pushed for an All Out.

Haryana’s defence did try its level best to keep the team in the game. Surender Nada picked up three quick tackle points from the left corner in the early minutes. Vijay Kumar also initiated a wonderful Super Tackle on Bharat to keep Haryana in the hunt.

With three minutes remaining to half time, Ashish produced a three-point Super Raid which could have led to a mini-revival. But Bharat’s raids and the Bulls' high-pressure defence finally helped them clinch an All Out in the last minute of the first half. That opened a healthy lead for Bengaluru as Haryana looked for immediate solutions. The score was 20-14 in Bulls' favour at the break.

Pawan Sehrawat switched gears as he started dominating the raids in the second half. Bharat also contributed as the Bulls inflicted another All Out in the seventh minute to widen their lead to 11 points. Haryana coach Rakesh Kumar introduced Meetu in the second half to bolster the attack but he also struggled against a switched-on Bulls defence. The lead was 12 points with 10 minutes remaining in the match.

Pawan Sehrawat produced a Super Tackle with six minutes remaining to ensure the Bulls maintained a 12-point gap. They kept on piling the pressure and improved the lead to 16 points. Pawan secured his Super 10 and the men from Bengaluru inflicted another All Out in the last raid of the match to get itself a 22-point win.

- Dabang Delhi qualifies for play-offs with narrow win over second-string Patna Pirates -

In the final match of the evening, Dabang Delhi booked its play-off spot with a narrow 26-23 win over table topper Patna Pirates. Despite playing with a second-string side, Patna Pirates gave Delhi a run for their money and stayed in the match till the very end.

Patna started the match strongly before Delhi settled down and from thereon, it was a neck-to-neck contest. At half-time, the score read 14-12 in favour of Delhi which needed at least a tie to make it to the knock out stage.

RELATED | Pro Kabaddi PKL 8 Highlights: Dabang Delhi beats second-string Patna Pirates 26-23, qualifies for play-offs

In the second half, it was Delhi which quickly stretched its lead to four points but a Super Tackle on Neeraj Narwal by Shubham Shinde, who picked up a High 5, ended Delhi's hopes of inflicting the All Out. While Shubham was proving to be the hero in defence on Patna's side, for Delhi, it was the veteran Manjeet Chhillar who showed his class  by clinching a High 5.

Going into the final five minutes, Delhi was ahead 22-20. Patna, already assured of a play-off spot, kept fighting and made it 23-23 with less than two minutes left on the clock.

However, two quick bonus points by Vijay (seven raid points) for Delhi followed by a successful tackle on Patna's raider Rohit ensured Delhi walked away with the win and completed the double over the men in green this season. 

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