PKL: UP Yoddha, Bengaluru Bulls clinch semi-final berths
New Delhi: UP Yoddha and Bengaluru Bulls entered the semifinals of the Pro Kabaddi League after winning their respective eliminator matches here on Monday.
In the first eliminator, UP Yoddha beat Puneri Paltan 42-31 to book a last-four spot. Later in the day, Bengaluru Bulls thrashed Gujarat Giants 49-29 in the second eliminator to also clinch a semifinal berth.
In the semifinals on Wednesday, UP Yoddha will face league table-toppers Patna Pirates while Bengaluru Bulls will be up against Dabang Delhi.
Pardeep Narwal reminded everyone why he is regarded as the ‘playoff king’ with an 18-point performance in UP Yoddha’s win over Puneri Paltan.
UP Yoddha made an incredible comeback to win the crucial match after trailing by eight points in the early minutes of the first half.
Narwal was ably supported by Yoddha’s famed corner combination of Nitesh Kumar (3 points) and Sumit (5 points). Aslam Inamdar scored a Super 10 for Puneri Paltan but they lacked the usual raiding power to trouble the in-form UP defence.
Pune raced to a 5-0 lead in the initial minutes with the raiding duo of Aslam Inamdar and Mohit Goyat taking control of the mat.
Mohit was also good in the defence, contributing in tackles from the IN positions, as Pune dominated the proceedings. He helped Paltan inflict the first ALL OUT of the match in the 7th minute with a 4-point raid. That gave Pune an eight-point advantage, but Yoddha immediately staged a comeback with Surender Gill leading the way.
The star raider picked up three quick points while the defence tightened to help Yoddha clinch an ALL OUT in the 13th minute. That levelled the scores at 10-10.
Narwal then completely changed the complexion of the game with a stunning five-point Super Raid. UP Yoddha took a lead for the first time in the match and Pune could not stop another ALL OUT in the final minute before the interval despite a Super Tackle by substitute Hadi Tajik.
The Iranian picked up a yellow card in the process (two-minute penalty) and Pune had to play with a man disadvantage. However, the ALL OUT wasn’t the last action in the first half with Narwal picking a three-point Super Raid to give Yoddha an eight-point lead (25-17). The record breaker clinched his Super 10 in the process.
Narwal picked another three-point Super Raid as Yoddha raced to a big lead. Nitesh Kumar and Sumit also contributed from the defence as they secured another ALL OUT in the sixth minute after the restart to make the scores 33-21.
Sumit picked his High 5 with four minutes remaining as Yoddha looked in complete control of the match. Narwal and Surender Gill took turns to slow down the speed of the raids in the final minutes as Pune conceded defeat.
In the second game of the day, star raider Pawan Sehrawat helped Bengaluru Bulls thrash Gujarat Giants.
Sehrawat scored 13 points while Mahender clinched a High 5 from the cover position. The Bulls outplayed Gujarat in every department with secondary raiders Bharat and Chandran Ranjit also contributing to the points.
Gujarat lacked the usual focus in the defence and conceded an early lead which they found difficult to chase.