U.P. Yoddha held off a monumental comeback from Tamil Thalaivas to win 37-32 on the second day of the Pro Kabaddi tournament at the packed Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium on Monday.
Leading 18-4 at halftime, U.P. Yoddha were expected to canter to victory but Tamil Thalaivas, led by India captain Ajay Thakur, staged a marvellous fightback to lose by five points only despite trailing by 19 points at one stage in the second half.
Recovering from a sloppy start, Thakur pocketed 12 points (nine raid points, three bonus points) in the dying minutes of the game with back-to-back successful raids. The experienced Manjeet Chhillar was excellent too defensively, picking up four tackle points as Tamil Thalaivas came close to pulling off an improbable triumph.
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For U.P. Yoddha, Prashanth Kumar Rai (eight points) and Shrikant Yadav (five points) starred in attack while Narender (four tackle points) did the job defensively.
The Tamil Thalaivas tried to fashion a comeback and did remarkably well to trim the gap to 19-27 riding an all out at the halfway mark of the second period. Thakur and Chhillar were at the heart of the comeback using their reservoir of experience to inflict an all out and cut the gap to nine points.
However, the U.P. Yoddha managed to hold firm when it mattered the most to ensure a nervy win.