Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of the Pro Kabaddi League. This is Nihit Sachdeva and I will be taking you through today's PKL 8 match between UP Yoddha and Puneri Paltan.
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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.
Summary: Pardeep Narwal reminded the world why he is regarded as the “playoff king” with an 18-point performance to help UP Yoddha beat Puneri Paltan 42-31 in the first eliminator of Pro Kabaddi League Season 8 playoffs. UP Yoddha made an incredible comeback to win the crucial encounter after trailing by eight points in the early minutes of the first half. Pardeep Narwal was ably supported by Yoddha’s much-famed corner combination of Nitesh Kumar (three points) and Sumit (five points). Aslam Inamdar scored a Super 10 for Puneri Paltan but it lacked the usual raiding power to trouble the in-form UP defence.
FULL-TIME: UP Yoddha beats Puneri Paltan 42-31 in Eliminator 1 and will next face Patna Pirates in the first semifinal on February 23.
42-31: Final raid of the match and Aslam simply runs down the clock.
42-31: Finally, the UP defence stops the young raider Akash Shinde who has otherwise impressed quite a few tonight.
41-31: High-line from Paltan, Surender crosses the baulk line but his front foot lands first on the mat and therefore the officials have ruled it a self-out for an illegal raid. UP Yoddha has used its review and as it turns out, the decision goes in UP's favour.
41-31: A quick raid from Akash Shinde and he uses back tracking skills to win the touch point despite Gurdeep's tackle.
Anup Kumar has asked for quick bonus from his players but also mentions that it is all over.
Ninety four seconds on the clock.
41-30: Do-or-die raid for UP, Pardeep goes in, is on the verge of being timed out but seconds before this could happen, Mohit and Sombir on the right corner go for his ankle and give him two touch points just like that.
39-29: Superb dash all the way from the left corner by Sumit and he manages to push Mohit off the mat on the right.
Final strategic time out. Five minutes to go and UP Yoddha still has a solid nine-point lead. Paltan needs a big raid or two in order to have a chance of coming back.
38-29: Sombir initiates the block and others come in time to trap Surender.
38-28: Akash Shinde has five points off five raids. Another lovely running hand touch on Shubham.
38-27: Aslam, who too has a Super 10 tonight, has erred this time. He tried for the touch on Ashu on the right corner, Ashu retreated and Aslam lost his balance stepping into the lobbies for a self-out.
37-27: Favour returned. Mohit Goyat went in for the raid and Shubham Kumar's diving ankle hold brought him down. Paltan lost its review saying that player on the right corner had entered the lobbies before Mohit was tackled.
36-27: Do-or-die raid for UP Yoddha, Pardeep goes in and this time, Paltan gets him! A sublime ankle hold by Sombir and Pardeep is flat on the mat.
36-26: Akash Shinde keeping up the good work as he draws in a weak ankle hold by Nitesh on the right corner only to run away at the right time.
First strategic time out. Ten minutes to go and UP has a handy 11-point lead courtesy of a sensational performance by Pardeep Narwal who already has 16 raid points.
36-25: Successful raid for substitute raider Akash Shinde as he gets a touch off Shubham with a kick.
36-24: Pardeep picks up a bonus.
35-23: Another error from Sombir. Surender was in for the raid and Sombir came for the advanced block.
34-22: Do-or-die raid for UP Yoddha, Pardeep goes in and does not have to do much as Sombir puts in the ankle hold way too quick and Pardeep escapes.
33-22: Aslam picks up a bonus.
33-21: ALL OUT!!! Aslam, last man on the mat for Paltan, goes in, picks the bonus and then it is the duo of Sumit and Nitesh who takes him down.
30-20: Paltan down to one. Again. Pardeep gets a touch point off Sombir and is satisfied with it.
29-19: SUPER RAID!!! I cannot believe what I am seeing. Pardeep with another moment of magic deceives the three Paltan defenders closing in on him.
26-19: UP Yoddha's defence, my gosh!! An excellent ankle hold by Sumit and Mohit Goyat has no chance of getting out of it.
25-19: Do-or-die raid for Paltan, Aslam Inamdar comes in with six on the mat for UP and he comes back courtesy of a failed block from Shubham.
25-18: Solid block and dash from Paltan to push Surender off the mat.
Coach Anup Kumar has told his team not to go for the advanced tackle on Pardeep since he is a very clever raider.
Well, this is as good a half of Kabaddi as you'll ever see. Puneri Paltan came out all guns blazing and inflicted an All Out within seven minutes to take a 9-1 lead. However, UP Yoddha roared back and with record-breaker Pardeep in full flow, it is now ahead by eight-points!
HALF-TIME: UP Yoddha 25-17 Puneri Paltan
25-17: SUPER RAID!!!!!! Record-breaker Pardeep Narwal is back!!! Another massive three-point super raid at the stroke of half-time gives Pardeep a Super 10!
22-17: ALL OUT!!! UP Yoddha has well and truly arrived. Aslam picks up a bonus but then, the UP Yoddha defence is all on him. One point more given to UP for Hadi.
18-16: Vishal goes for the single thigh hold on Pardeep. Did not work. Paltan down to one. Again.
17-16: Aslam picks up a bonus.
However, Hadi has been issued a yellow card and therefore a two-minute suspension for holding Surender by the neck.
17-15: SUPER TACKLE!!!! Hadi and Vishal have somehow managed to stop Surender on their own.
17-13: Aslam picks up a bonus but Paltan just has two men on the mat now.
17-12: SUPER RAID!!!! Man for the big moment! Pardeep Narwal goes in for the raid, Sombir puts in the ankle hold at the right corner but does not get the grip. Pardeep escapes but then gets dashed by Abinesh and Sanket. However, despite a pile of bodies on him, Pardeep manages to get his fingertips across the mid-line. Paltan has lost its review challenging the decision and in fact, IT IS A FIVE-POINT RAID!!!!!
Since it is the playoffs, both teams get a review for each half. So, UP will have a review when the second half starts.
12-12: Surender Gill picks the bonus but Abinesh and Sanket come up with a brutal dash to push him off the mat just in time.
11-11: Aslam goes in for the raid with all seven on the mat for UP. The Paltan raider picks up a bonus but then Nitesh Kumar puts in a brilliant ankle hold to tackle him. UP loses its review challenging the bonus.
10-10: ALL OUT!!! Shubham goes in for the raid, picks the bonus but nothing more than that. This is a remarkable fightback from UP.
7-9: Make that one. Surender makes full use of those 30 seconds and eventually, Sombir loses patience and goes for the block. Surender however gets away easily.
6-9: Now Paltan down to two as Surender gets the faintest of the touches on Nitin Tomar's hand with a back kick.
5-9: Do-or-die raid for Paltan, Mohit Goyat goes in and Sumit puts in a mighty ankle hold to stop him.
4-9: Gap down to five as Surender Gill gets a toe touch on Vishal on the left corner.
3-9: Aslam gets mobbed by the UP defence. uP realises it can't let Pune run away with the game this early.
2-9: Back to full strength and Pardeep starts off with a touch point off Sanket.
1-9: ALL OUT!!! This is unbelievable. Under seven minutes, Puneri Paltan has inflicted the All Out on UP Yoddha. Mohit Goyat lured Ashu into the ankle hold and then went past Nitesh's dash as well.
1-5: First point for UP. Substitute raider Shrikant Jadhav picks up a bonus.
0-5: UP is down to two as Aslam gets a touch point off Sumit on the left corner.
0-4: Do-or-die raid for UP now, Surender Gill goes in and yet again, it is Mohit Goyat who along with Vishal on the left corner execute the ankle hold.
0-3: Do-or-die raid for Puneri Paltan, Mohit Goyat takes the responsibility and delivers as he jumps over Gurdeep who came for the unnecessary block.
0-2: Wow!! First raid of UP, star raider Pardeep Narwal comes in and it is raider Mohit Goyat who takes him down. Way to make a statement.
0-1: Aslam Inamdar goes in for the opening raid of the first Eliminator and wins a touch point straightaway as Shubham comes for a block way too close to the mid-line.
TOSS - UP Yoddha wins the toss and selects right side of the court. Puneri Paltan to raid first.
UP Yoddha: Pardeep Narwal, Ashu Singh, Shubham Kumar, Gurdeep, Surender Gill, Nitesh Kumar (c), Sumit
Subs: Mohammad Taghi, Ankit, Gaurav Kumar, Aashish Nagar, Shrikant Jadhav
Puneri Paltan: Mohit Goyat, Aslam Inamdar, Abinesh Nadarajan, Sanket Sawant, Nitin Tomar (c), Sombir, Vishal Bharadwaj
Subs: Hadi Tajik, Jadhav Shahaji, Shubham Shelke, Karamvir, Akash Shinde
7:20pm: Head-to-head stats: Matches played - 7, Matches won by UP Yoddha - 4, Matches won by Puneri Paltan - 3, This season: UP won the first game between the two sides 50-40, while the Paltan won the second 44-38.
7:10pm: Captain's corner
UP Yoddha captain Nitesh Kumar : “Our road to the Playoffs has been full of ups and downs. We didn’t have the best start to the season but together as a team, we were able to manage our problems and we came back strong in the second half. The team and coaching staff have worked really hard, and we will continue to do so going into the Playoffs week and the finals.”
Puneri Paltan captain Nitin Tomar : “We have had an excellent season and are very satisfied with how the team has performed throughout. We are highly motivated to play against the best teams in the league and we are confident enough to bring the trophy home.”
7pm: Puneri Paltan made a poor start and that meant it had a mountain to climb in the second half of the season. But against all odds, Anup Kumar's men picked up 44 out of a possible 55 points and qualified for the playoffs by a whisker. The turnaround was made possible by the two fresh faces in Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat. The duo has made their way into the league’s leading points scorers, a stellar achievement in their debut campaigns. The side will will rely on these two young guns, along side the veterans in Nitin Tomar Vishal Bharadwaj, to guide it past UP Yooddha.
6:50pm: UP Yoddha started the season slow and won only one of its first seven matches, but then it picked up form when it mattered to racked up successive wins. One of the major factors in that turnaround was Surender Gill's performance. The young raider took responsibility when Pardeep Narwal was not performing and led his side to many a big win. UP Yoddha boasts the league’s third-best raiding unit and the fifth-best defence and has a plethora of game changers in its lineup on both offence and defence. The team has picked up 19 Super Raids and 24 Super Tackles, both league-high marks. The team will take further confidence from the fact that Pardeep has finally found form and bagged three Super 10s in the last four games.
6:40pm: The 2022 edition of the Sportstar Aces Awards is back and we are celebrating the marvellous year for Indian Sports that 2021 was. From Neeraj Chopra and the other Olympic and Paralympic medallists to the Indian cricket team, we have a bunch of nominees who need your vote to win! Support your favourite athlete/team here .
6:35pm: 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.
6:30pm: Hello folks and welcome to our PKL coverage for the day! After a gruelling league stage in which a total of 132 matches were played, it's time for the business end of the tournament - the play-offs. This stage begins with the two eliminators scheduled for today, the first of which is between UP Yoddha and Puneri Paltan. The winner of this match will face Patna Pirates in the first semifinal on February 23.
Here's the complete schedule for playoffs -