With no wins in the seventh edition of the Pro Kabaddi League, UP Yoddha were desperate for a victory. U Mumba, the home team, playing at the DOME NSCI in Mumbai, were looking to step on the mat with the aim of continuing their winning streak. It was a battle to watch out for and the stadium never stopped cheering.
Rishank Devadiga, for the first time in PKL 2019, was about to lock horns with the Iranian wall of defense, Fazel Atrachali. Read to find out how the much-highlighted match of the night unfolded itself.
U Mumba: Fazel Atrachali, Abhishek Singh, Arjun Deshwal, Rohit Baliyan, Young Chang Ko, Surinder Singh, Sandeep Narwal
UP Yoddha: Monu Goyat, Rishank Devadiga, Shrikant Jadhav, Ashu Singh, Nitesh Kumar, Amit, Sumit
UP Yoddha won the toss and chose the court.
Rohit Baliyan started for U Mumba, returning empty-handed. Monu, the costliest player in the history of PKL, stepped onto the opponent's court only to be sent off the mat. In the second raid for Mumbai's franchise, Abhishek Singh fished out a point.
In a rookie error from Arjun Deshwal, he gave UP their first point by stepping off the bounds. Shrikant Jadhav became the first raider to pitch in for the Yoddhas.
It was the first point for Monu, where he swiftly hand-touched Atrachali. Reduced to just three players in the ninth minute of the face-off, Mumba inflicted a brilliant super-tackle on Shrikant through Sandeep Narwal. After another top-class super tackle by Rohit Baliyan on Jadhav right after the first one, Mumba inched ahead 8-6 on the scoreboard.
A review taken by Rishank Devadiga in the 14th minute of the match was deemed unsuccessful. In the slow-paced match since the very inception of the encounter, half-time ended with the score 12-14, tilted in UP's direction, as the Yoddhas inflicted a mind-blowing all-out on Mumbai in the 19th minute.
Devadiga went out for the first raid after the second half commenced and was instantly sent to the lobby by Mumba's defense. In the first point for Nitesh in the match, he rapidly thigh-holded Arjun Deshwal to score for UP Yoddha.
In the 28th minute of the face-off, the score 18-15, in UP's favour, remained neck-to-neck. After completing the first high-five, Sumit shone through the night, keeping Mumba's raiders at bay. With almost every player pitching in points for UP, they displayed a game never seen before in Season 7.
A crucial review claimed by U Mumba to save Arjun was declared futile, leaving both squads without one. By increasing the lead in the dying minutes of the neck-to-neck match, UP inched ahead of Mumba.
With Mumba under pressure, the raiders and defenders started making schoolboy mistakes, giving away free point to the Yoddhas. Emerging triumphant for the first time this season by 27-23, Rishank Devadiga became the true game-changer. By verbally guiding his squad throughout the battle, he proved to be a real leader.
On the other hand, Mumba, the team once known for their home-leg winning streak, lost their second match in Mumbai. They'll have to fight back stronger, playing in the toughest season of PKL.Published 31 Jul 2019, 22:22 IST