UP Yoddha produced an all-round performance to defeat Gujarat Fortunegiants 33-26 in a Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 match at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here on Monday.
Yoddha's defensive pair of Nitesh Kumar (4 tackle points) and Sumit (5 tackle points) were in great form once again and were aptly supported by the raiding duo of Shrikanth Jadhav and Surender Gill (both earning 6 raid points each), as the team beat last season's runners-up Fortunegiants to move to the fifth spot in the points table.
Yoddha's cover combination of Nitesh Kumar and Sumit is regarded amongst the best in the league and it was not surprising that the match was termed as the battle of defence, because on the other side was Sunil Kumar and Parvesh Bhainswal, another great defensive duo.
So it was not surprising to see the raiders struggle to clinch points in the early stages of the first half. Sachin Tanwar's return to the squad has been a vital factor in Fortunegiants' improved show in the recent matches and the raider was once again influential as he secured to a two-point raid in the sixth minute to give his side a slender lead.
But Shrikanth Jadhav immediately restored parity with a two-point raid for the Yoddha as both sides continued to trade blows.
With Monu Goyat still nursing an injury, Yoddha's raiding duties fell on the shoulders of Jadhav and Surender Gill, something they had so far managed to do with ease. The latter was the difference maker for Yoddha as he pulled off a series of successful raids to enforce an All-Out on Fortunegiants in the final minute of the first half to open up a 7-point lead (16-9).
Gill started the second half just like he ended with the first, picking up vital raid points for Yoddha as they raced to a healthy lead. Their dominance showed when the team inflicted a second All-Out on Fortunegiants in the eighth minute of the half to move to a 12-point lead.
But Fortunegiants were in no mood to give up, as Sachin sparked a comeback with a four-point Super Raid to reduce the margin and force an All-Out on Yoddha with eight minutes still left on the clock.
But the Yoddha defence was in no mood for another slip up as Nitesh and Sumit steadied the ship to clinch their fourth consecutive win.