UP Yoddha brushed aside any concerns of a slump in form following their previous loss to Puneri Paltan and cruised to an easy 37-33 win against home team Tamil Thalaivas at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday. With both teams’ defence being their weakness, it was a battle of the raiders and the Nitin Tomar-Rishank Devadiga duo found support in others like Mahesh Goud and Santhosh B.S which was lacking for Ajay Thakur and K. Prapanjan in the Chennai side.
Prapanjan finally looked like he would come good as he was raiding aggressively and appeared to be moving well. He put the team 4-2 ahead early on as captain Thakur allowed him to do the bulk of the raiding. But U.P. came back with a super tackle on the raider and then went ahead at 6-5 through Devadiga.
On the verge of an All-Out, U.P. Yoddha brought on substitute Santhosh who got 3 men back through a super raid and instead put the pressure back on the Thalaivas. The Yoddha then marched ahead through captain Tomar and inflicted the first All-Out of the night on the Thalaivas, taking a 16-12 lead in the process. Tomar finished the half with 7 raid points and gave his team a 20-15 lead.
Prapanjan played on the bonus in the second half, putting in quick raids and not trying too hard to get touch points but the Chennai defence could do little to stop Tomar as he reached his Super 10 and extended U.P.’s lead to 9 points. Prapanjan picked up his own super 10 soon after and was followed by Thakur but the Thalaivas still trailed by 7 points at 25-32 after 12 minutes.
Thakur and Prapanjan kept slowly outscoring the Tomar-Rishank duo and the difference went down to 5 points with just 4 minutes to play. However, a defensive lapse by the Thalaivas gave Tomar 2 points late in the game and sealed the match for U.P. Thakur picked up points in the closing seconds but his side still went down 33-37. It was their fifth straight home loss.
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