After six days of disappointment, there was much to cheer for the UP Yoddha fans as their side edged past Telugu Titans 25-23 in their last home leg game. Despite the home team’s repeated failure to eke out a win, kabaddi fans came out in huge support for their home side as the fourth leg of the Pro Kabaddi concluded on a high note for the Nitin Tomar-led side. As Lucknow, the city of nawabs, hosted the fourth leg, there was plenty of drama. While Gujarat Fortunegiants continued their victory march, victory was not easy for the Yoddhas as they had to overcome four defeats and a tie to taste their first win at home in Lucknow.
Match of the week: Patna Pirates vs Puneri Paltan, 42 – 47
The fourth week of the fifth edition witnesses some breathtaking matches which were fought till the last moment. However, the match between Puneri Paltan and Patna Pirates had all features that make it as the match of the week. First half of the match saw, Pune team dominate the game right from the word go. Sandeep Narwal and Ziaur Rahman pf Pune team kept Pardeep Narwal quiet in the first half before the ‘dupki king’ led a late surge to help Patna Pirates fightback before going down 42-47. Despite four empyt raids in his first five raids, the 20-year old star raider went on to score 19 points in 24 raids. The match turned out to be a high voltage game as the two teams tried their best to show consistency in the first inter-zone week.
Raid of the week – Vineet Kumar’s raid against UP Yoddha
Coming in after four consecutive defeats, UP Yoddha managed to put up a great show against Tamil Thalaivas. But they missed out an opportunity of sealing the match in their favour when Tamil raider Vineet Kumar pulled off an exceptional dive to get a soft fingure touch of Rajesh Narwal to reduce UP Yoddha’s lead. After given the responsibility to make the final raid, Vineet returned with a point and leveling the score before the referee blew the final whistle. It was Vineet’s raid that despite having a lad of 19-11 at one point of the game, UP Yoddha had to settle for a draw and share three points with the Thalaivas.
Star Watch: It was the raiders who stood out. While Shabeer Bappu took apart the UP Yoddha’s defence in their first game in Lucknow, it was Jasvir Singh who steered from Jaipur Pink Panthers to two consecutive wins in the absence of Manjeet Chhillar and Selvamani K. While Pardeep Narwal showed what he is capable of when he scored 19 points from 24 raids against Puneri Paltan, it was Fazel Atrachali’s performance against the Pune team which managed to catch the eyeballs. Despite playing with a broken bone, Fazel scored nine points and didn’t let Pune raiders escape from his attack. As per Gujarat Fortunegiants coach Manpreet Singh, the left-corner specialist has become the backbone of the team.
Unexpected element: Pardeep Narwal vs Puneri Paltan
One would not even dare to imagine a single player attempting 24 raids in a single match and went on to score 19 points out of them. However, Patna Pirates captain Pardeep Narwal mesmerised everyone with his ability to score points despite being under tremendous pressure. Without being affected by what had happened in his first five raids, the 20-year old player made a joke out of Pune’s defence. After keeping Pardeep out of the mat for over 10 minutes, Deepak Niwas Hooda & co would have had thought that they will have a smooth ride to the shore but Pardeep didn’t let that happen. In the second half of the match, Pardeep’s brilliance not only brought Patna Pirates back into the game but also showed that it is not easy to keep him out of the game.