U.P. Yoddha will hold the psychological edge after beating Bengaluru Bulls last Friday.
In their two meetings this season, U.P. Yoddha emerged victorious on both occasions, winning 35-33 the first time before beating the defending champions 45-33 in the final game of the league stage.
League stage record (W-L-T): 13-7-2
After starting the season with just three wins in their opening 10 matches, U.P. Yoddha found themselves in a spot of bother in the league stages. However, they rallied back to win 10 of their remaining 12 matches and picked up 52 points out of a possible 60 to finish third in the vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7 standings and qualify for the playoffs for the third season running.
Best Raider – Shrikant Jadhav
After struggling to find form early in the campaign, raider Shrikant Jadhav came into his own in the second half of the season and emerged as U.P. Yoddha’s best raider with 139 raid points to his name. His best performance of the season came against Puneri Paltan in Match 61, where he scored 15 points and led his team to victory.
While Shrikant has been the team’s lead raider, the likes of rookie Surender Gill and the experienced Rishank Devadiga have provided good support throughout the season, having scored 66 and 64 raid points respectively.
Best Defender – Sumit
U.P. Yoddha’s strength this season has been their defence and Left Corner Sumit has been the star of that unit. The rookie defender has the third-most tackle points this season and has been in brilliant form throughout the campaign.
His partner on the other side, Right Corner Nitesh Kumar has also had a tremendous campaign and is trailing his teammate by just two tackle points on the leaderboard. Given the duo’s performances, it is no surprise that U.P. Yoddha are the league’s second-best defensive unit with 246 tackle points to their name, and they will be a key competent in determining how far the team goes in the playoffs.
League stage record (W-L-T) – 11-10-1
The defending champions started the season brightly with four wins in five matches but followed that up with two wins in the next seven. They managed four wins and a tie in their subsequent seven matches to qualify for the playoffs but finished the campaign with two straight losses to Jaipur Pink Panthers and U.P. Yoddha.
Best Raider – Pawan Kumar Sehrawat
Reigning Most Valuable Player Pawan Sehrawat delivered another incredible campaign which saw him set a new league stage record of 308 raid points, as he led Bengaluru Bulls to the playoffs. He is currently on a run of 10 straight matches with a Super 10, which includes his 39-point performance against Haryana Steelers.
The rest of the raiding unit has failed to impress this season. Skipper Rohit Kumar finished the league stage with just 88 raid points, while Sumit Singh has scored 48 in his limited opportunities. Bengaluru Bulls will hope that Rohit and Sumit can up their game in the playoffs and provide some support to their talisman Sehrawat.
Best Defender – Mahender Singh
For the third season running, Left Cover Mahender Singh has been the team’s most successful defender. He has scored 55 tackle points in 19 appearances this season, with his best performance coming against Telugu Titans in Match 31, where he finished with 7 tackle points.
Corner duo Amit Sheoran and Saurabh Nandal have combined to score 100 tackle points this season and are one of the most potent Corner combinations in the league. Bengaluru Bulls’ defence is especially good in Super Tackle situations and has managed 26, which is the fourth-most this season.