The first Eliminator of the vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7 playoffs proved to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller as defending champions Bengaluru Bulls defeated U.P. Yoddha 48-45 in extra time at the EKA Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad on Monday to set up a sekmifinal meeting with Dabang Delhi K.C. The back-and-forth contest saw Pawan Sehrawat score 20 raid points, which included two 4-point raids, as the league witnessed its first-ever playoffs tiebreaker.
U.P. Yoddha raced to an early lead by sending ‘Hi-Flyer’ Pawan Sehrawat to the bench through Ashu Singh’s tackle. Surender Gill and Shrikant Jadhav’s successful touch points then brought on the All Out on the defending champions in just the seventh minute as U.P. Yoddha took an 11-4 lead.
Nitesh Kumar sent Pawan to the bench once again after Bengaluru Bulls reassembled which prompted Randhir Singh to bring Rohit Kumar off the bench. Mahender then tackled Gill to bring Pawan back on the mat and he immediately responded with a 4-point Super Raid to cut U.P. Yoddha’s lead to six.
However, Nitesh proved too much for Pawan once again and Super Tackled the raider to take his team’s lead back up to nine. Gill’s unsuccessful Do-or-die raid brought U.P. Yoddha back down to two men and an intense struggle between Pawan and U.P. Yoddha’s Nitesh and Narender, which resulted in the raider successfully crossing the mid-way line, finally inflicted the All Out on U.P. Yoddha to make it a four-point game.
Rohit then managed to score points on both ends of the mat to ensure that U.P. Yoddha only had a 20-17 lead at halftime.
Rishank Devadiga’s successful escape attempt against Ankit, and Sumit’s Thigh Hold on Rohit, started the second half well for U.P. Yoddha and they managed to extend their advantage by sending Pawan to the bench as well. But Bengaluru Bulls struck back through their defence as Jadhav and Gill both got tackled in quick succession and the difference between the two teams came down to just one point.
Down to two men, U.P. Yoddha Super Tackled Pawan twice to maintain their lead; the second of which gave Nitesh his High 5. Jadhav’s touch on Amit Sheoran then extended U.P. Yoddha’s lead to seven with 7 minutes still left to play.
Jadhav’s two-point raid was matched by back-to-back successful raids by Sumit as U.P. Yoddha managed to hold onto their advantage. But Saurabh Nandal managed to hold onto Jadhav’s ankle in his next raid and Pawan inflicted the All Out with touches on Gill and Devadiga to make it a one-point game.
Pawan’s two-point raid once U.P. Yoddha came back on the mat shot Bengaluru Bulls ahead but Surender Gill’s touch on Ankit tied the match for the first-ever time in a playoffs situation, bringing it to to extra-time.
Devadiga’s two-point raid, which included a touch on Pawan, followed by Sumit’s tackle on Rohit gave U.P. Yoddha a good start to the tiebreaker. But Sheoran’s tackle on Jadhav brought Pawan back on the mat. Pawan responded with another four-point Super Raid to take Bengaluru Bulls in the lead and followed that up with a two-point raid which inflicted an All Out on U.P. Yoddha and gave the defending champions a five-point lead.
Bengaluru Bulls only had to kill the clock from there without conceding any big raids and they did just that to win the contest by a three-point margin.
U.P. Yoddha –
Best Raider – Rishank Devadiga (11 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Nitesh Kumar (5 Tackle Points)
Bengaluru Bulls –
Best Raider – Pawan Sehrawat (20 Raid Points)
Best Defender – Mahender Singh (4 Tackle Points)