Bengaluru, Feb 21: UP Yoddha annihilated the Puneri Paltans 42-31, in Eliminator 1 of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season Eight Play-offs to storm through to their first ever Semi Finals, where they face league toppers Patna Pirates.
At the Sheraton Grand Whitefield Hotel and Convention Centre in Bengaluru, the brilliant Yoddhas put up a superb team effort led by their record-breaking superstar and “Dubki King” Pardeep Narwal, who logged as many as 18 points for the game to stamp his class.
UP Yoddha began with five defenders and two raiders for a 5-2 formation. The captain Nitesh Kumar did win the toss but it was not the start they would have hoped for as the Yoddhas found themselves 1-9 down after an All Out was inflicted on them in the first seven minutes.
They had not scored a point in the first five minutes of the game and had their first touch point in the seventh minute. Narwal scored his first point soon after, but it was Surender Gill, as he has often done this season, who played the lead role in the Yoddhas comeback with three quick points in five minutes. Surender had five points for the game.
The Yoddhas returned the All Out compliment on the Puneri Paltans in the next seven minutes and soon the score read 10-10. Nitesh then came into the game with a fantastic ankle hold to give Yoddhas the lead for the first time.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man it was after that as Pardeep Narwal took over Eliminator 1 completely. He first pulled off a five-point Super Raid, then followed it up with a three-point one and before Puneri Paltans realized it, they were down 17-25 going into the break.
As the second half began, any hopes that Puneri Paltans had of a comeback were quickly extinguished by Narwal as he pulled off yet another three-point Super Raid. As the half wore on, the lead continued to swell and when the first strategic time out was called with under 10 minutes left in the game, the Yoddhas had opened up a yawning 11-point gap with the score reading 36-25. Narwal at that stage had 16 raid points.