Pro Kabaddi League 2018: Yoddha captain Rishank Devadiga ecstatic after win, Thalaivas coach gracious in defeat
UP Yoddha got their Pro Kabaddi campaign off to a fantastic start with a win as they beat Tamil Thalaivas 37-32 in a match that delivered tons of entertainment.
In the second match of Day 2, the Yoddha came out of the blocks firing, inflicting two quick All Outs to leave the Thalaivas' home fans in Chennai stunned. The UP outfit were up 12-0 and the Thalaivas took 12 minutes to score their first point, and just four points in total in the half. The Yoddha raiders and defenders weren't giving an inch to the Thalaivas and it showed in the scoreline.
The Yoddha led 27-9 with about 15 minutes to go and the match looked long gone, but that's when the Thalaivas began their fightback and eventually came within sniffing distance as they brought it to 30-32 with two minutes to go led by their captain Ajay Thakur and their defence. But the Yoddha held on in the end to take the win.
Yoddha coach Jasveer Singh felt his side tightened up towards the end as a result of which the game became close: "In playing safe and looking to run the time out we lost our rhythm and allowed them to come back. Had we continued to play with the same strategy and pace as before we would have won by a bigger margin."
Rishank, Yoddha captain, agreed with his coach. "Even yesterday the Thalaivas against Patna had a big lead which reduced in the end as they tried to play safe. We did the same thing, we didn't want to give away a Super Raid. There were some mistakes from our raiding also towards the end and as they were making their comeback we started rushing things and that cost us", said Rishank.
It was a splendid all-round showing from the Yoddha as all of their players scored points. Prashanth Rai was their best raider with eight points from 17 raids. Rishank was very happy with how his raiders performed in the match.
"Whenever we needed points our raiders delivered. No raider disappointed today", said Rishank.
Asked if he felt the raiding department - which has him alongside Prashanth Rai and Shrikant Jadhav - was one of the best in the league, he said he felt it was a huge advantage.
"Prashanth is a left-side raider, I'm a right-side raider. So we can attack in different ways. We work well as a team. Shrikant provides a different option. Also, all three of us are very attack-minded raiders; we also look to put pressure on the opponent", said Rishank.
For the Thalaivas, it was descent back down to earth after that euphoric win against the Pirates on opening night. They almost pulled off a miraculous comeback, but had too much to do in the end.
Thalaivas coach Bhaskaran Edacherry was gracious in defeat, offering his now customary congratulations to the opponent: "I want to congratulate UP. They came with a very good game-plan and executed it very well. For us, our team just didn't get set and Ajay struggled early on which made it difficult for us. But I'm proud of the way they fought to bring the game close."
Bhaskaran didn't think complacency or a lack of concentration after yesterday's win played a part. He said: "No issue with concentration. The raiders were not able to pick up points early on which put pressure on the defence. They became a little anxious. We should have ideally taken the game early like yesterday (Sunday) and not allowed them to gain a rhythm."
He also highlighted the difference in the raiding today between the two sides. "We did a lot of deep raids today. But UP raided very patiently, they used the clock and started behind the Bonus line. As a result we went for a lot of advance tackles which lost us many points."
Ajay Thakur had another Super 10 to his name with 12 points, but debutant MS Athul played a huge role as his entry into the game in place of Surjeet Singh sparked the comeback as he scored 7 points from just 8 raids.
Coach Bhaskaran was full of praise for the youngster: "He had such a good match. I think they (Yoddha) didn't know much about him. He brought us Bonus Points as well as touch points and he was key in the comeback."
The Yoddha have one more match in the Chennai leg, against the Patna Pirates on Thursday. The Thalaivas continue their home stand against Rahul Chaudhari and the Telugu Titans tomorrow.