Double defending champions Patna Pirates were lucky to get away with a 27-27 draw after U.P. Yoddha dominated the most part of the VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 5 match at The Arena in Ahmedabad on Sunday evening. Pardeep Narwal top-scored for Patna with nine points, while Nitin Tomar was Lucknow’s highest scorer with eight points.
Narwal opened the scoring from Patna’s first raid of the night, while Tomar returned the favour with a touch point of his own during U.P. Yoddha’s opening raid of the match. The Yoddha knew they would have to keep Narwal off the mat to have any real hope of an upset, and that’s just what they did in the opening eight minutes as they sent the Patna skipper to the bench twice to take a 5-3 lead.
Fortunately for the Pirates though, Monu Goyat stepped up and raided successfully in the absence of his captain to revive him. The Dubki King wasn’t on the mat for too long, however, with an ankle hold ensuring he was back on the bench for the third time in 11 minutes.
Narwal finally returned to the mat with a little over four minutes left in the first half. He picked up his second touch point of the night two minutes before half-time and another just a minute later to help his team cut away at Lucknow’s lead. His final raid of the half though was unsuccessful as the Yoddha led 13-10 at the half-time interval.
The second half for Patna began with the onus on the shoulders of Goyat, who scored four points in the first half for Patna, whereas, Tomar and Rishank Devadiga, who both had three points in the opening period, looked to extend Lucknow’s lead.
That being said, it was Mahesh Goud who scored Lucknow’s first second-half point. Narwal made his return to the mat five minutes into the second half and was sent straight back to the bench after an impressive tackle by Pankaj.
Once again it was Goyat, who brought the Pirates back into the game after picking up his seventh raid point of the night in the 28th minute. He registered another successful raid soon after to cut down the deficit to two points at 18-16.
With both teams in touching distance of each other in the last 10 minutes, a super tackle in the 32nd minute on Narwal made it 22-17 in favour of Lucknow to open up a sizeable gap between the sides for the first time in the game.
The game looked to be heading to a victory for Lucknow but a super tackle by Vishal Mane in the 36th minute, followed by a bonus and a two-point raid by Narwal, breathed plenty of life back into the game
High on confidence, Narwal picked up another two touch points in successive raids in the penultimate minute of the match. Tomar though responded with a bonus point to reopen the Yoddha’s two-point lead. With everything hinging on the what looked like the final raid of the match, Rajesh Narwal stepped off court trying to defend a Pardeep Narwal raid affording Patna two points – one for stepping off the mat and another technical point for holding Pardeep despite being ordered off the court. Tomar looked for a bonus point with two seconds left on the clock but it ended 27-27 for the third tie of the season.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.