PKL 2018, Qualifier 2, Gujarat Fortune Giants vs UP Yoddha: Gujarat Fortune Giants book a spot in the finals with an all-round show against UP Yoddha
The second qualifier of the Pro Kabaddi League 2018 played host to some thrilling action as the Gujarat Fortune Giants stormed into their second consecutive summit clash with a 38-31 win over the UP Yoddha at the DOME@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai.
The Gujarat Fortune Giants, who also featured in the previous season's finals came into the contest with a heart-wrenching loss against the Bengaluru Bulls in the first qualifier while the UP Yoddha walked in with an eight-match unbeaten streak that was certain to prove as a shot in the arm for the Rishank Devadiga-led side.
With the pressure cooker situation bound to play on the minds of both teams, the first eight minutes saw both teams deal a blow for blow until a moment of brilliance from K Prapanjan, a two-point raid gave the Fortune Giants a four-point lead in the 10th minute.
However, two super tackles on Prapanjan leveled the scores before a two-point effort from Rohit Gulia on the Do or Die raid gave Gujarat a 14-13 lead. With less than a minute left on the clock, UP fell to their first all-out of the evening as the Fortune Giants went into the break with an important 19-14 lead.
The second half started on a slow note with both teams playing on the Do or Die raids until the Fortune Giants piled the pressure on the Yoddhas with five unanswered points in a row that took the bite off the UP attack as Gujarat claimed the second all-out of the night and more importantly, led 28-14 with twelve minutes left on the clock.
Such was Gujarat's dominance that they picked up ten points in a row before UP's first point of the second half came through a tackle from Jeeva Kumar. However, a little bit of urgency from the Yoddha saw Gujarat hit the panic button as they fell to an all-out as the Yoddha reduced the deficit to six points with a little over two minutes left on the clock.
However, it all seemed too late as the Fortune Giants held on to their lead and registered a comfortable 38-31 win to seal a spot in the finals against the Bengaluru Bulls.
Here are the player ratings from the match.
Rishank Devadiga - 5/10
The UP skipper picked up just the one point in the first half but did well to stay on the mat until he was subbed off early in the second half of the match.
Nitesh Kumar - 8.5/10
UP's star defender was yet again in prime form as apart from two advance tackles on Sachin Tanwar, he was involved in an important super tackle and picked four points in the first half in addition to two more points as he notched up yet another 'High-5' and also breached the 100 tackle point margin this season.
Shrikant Jadhav - 7/10
Shrikant Jadhav looked slightly edgy in the opening half and picked up three points from nine raids but ensured that he found form in the second half with four more points to his kitty and topped the raiding charts for UP.
Prashanth Kumar Rai - 6/10
Prashanth Rai was the top UP raider in the first half as he picked two bonus points and added a touch point from five raids but could add just two more points from the second half.
Jeeva Kumar - 5/10
Jeeva Kumar looked off color all through the game as he picked up his first point only in the second half and added just another solitary point which had a direct outcome on the result as well.
Sachin Kumar - 5.5/10
Sachin Kumar effected a super tackle on Prapanjan in the opening half and also picked up three raid points but his schoolboy error of stepping into the lobbies on two occasions proved expensive for the Yoddha.
Narender - 3/10
The cover defender went missing all through the encounter as his advance tackles failed to bring about results, which only gifted easy points to the Gujarat raiders.
Azad Singh - 4.5/10
The youngster was used twice on the Do or Die raids and could pick up just the one raid point from two tries.
Amit - 5/10
Amit was subbed on in place of Rishank Devadiga and played an important part in keeping Prapanjan down on the Do or Die raid.
Sagar Krishna - 4/10
Krishna came off the benches in the second half but had no contribution in terms of points in the game.