With the playoffs nearing, U.P. Yoddha made a big statement by defeating Jaipur Pink Panthers 53-32 even without their captain Nitin Tomar in the side in the last match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on Thursday. Tushar Patil and Nitin Rawal scored 8 points apiece for Jaipur but the night clearly belonged to a certain Rishank Devadiga.

In the absence of Tomar, Devadiga led U.P. Yoddha, while the legendary Navneet Gautam, playing his last match of VIVO Pro Kabaddi, captained the Pink Panthers. Devadiga started with a 4-point super raid for the Yoddha to set the tone for his side. He then took out Rawal and Gautam to inflict a quick All-Out on Jaipur in just the 3rd minute, giving his side a 9-1 lead in the process. Jaipur struck back through raiders Patil and Pawan Kumar and brought U.P. down to three men at 9-13 but Devadiga continued his rampage and reached his Super 10 in the 11th minute of the match.  

Devadiga’s second super raid came soon after and it led to another Jaipur All-Out, with U.P. now taking a huge 23-9 advantage. Jaipur finally managed to tackle Devadiga in the closing minutes of the first half but the damage had already been done by then as Jaipur trailed by 12 points, going into half time at 16-28.

The U.P. defence looked suspect against the Jaipur raiders in the second half but Devadiga kept rescuing his side time and time again. A third super raid from Devadiga saw U.P. avoiding an All-out and putting the pressure back on Jaipur.

Jaipur switched strategies and played on the defensive from there but in the absence of their star defender Manjeet Chhillar they could do little against U.P.’s stand-in captain. Devadiga soon raced to a season record 22 raid points with 9 minutes still to go and looked good for quite a few more.

The Pink Panthers fell to a third All-Out in the 14th minute as U.P. went 19 points clear. Devadiga piled on the misery for Jaipur as he broke the record for the most points scored by a raider so far in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history with another 4-point super raid. Jaipur were no match on the night and their ordeal finally ended with a 53-32 defeat. With this thumping win fuelled by Devadiga’s 28 points, the Yoddha have now put one foot in the playoffs.

Check out our snapshots from this match here.