U Mumba’s home leg continues on Tuesday with a visit from U.P. Yoddha. Both teams will be coming off defeats and the result could come down to which of them can brush the disappointment off and find their rhythm sooner.

The only encounter these teams have played so far ended in U Mumba securing a 37-34 victory in Season 5. However, that was when U.P. Yoddha were playing at home and this time they will be fresh off a break while U Mumba are in the middle of their home leg. Rishank Devadiga will have good memories of that game as he scored a Super 10 and was his team’s leading raider. U Mumba’s Surender Singh, too, had a good outing where he scored a High 5 and a similar performance in this game will do his confidence a world of good this season.

Match 61 (Inter-Zone Challenge Week): U Mumba vs U.P. Yoddha

Head-to-head: U Mumba 1 – 0 U.P. Yoddha

After a successful start to their home leg that saw them beat Jaipur Pink Panthers 48-24, U Mumba succumbed to successive defeats, the most recent one to Haryana Steelers, who they had managed to win against on each of the two occasions the teams met earlier this season. While Vinod Kumar once again did well in this game as an all-rounder, scoring 6 points in the team’s cause, it was the three unsuccessful tackles by captain Fazel Atrachali that really dented their confidence. The need for his tackle strike rate to improve is clear since the team usually manage to win games where his tackle strike rate is above 80% and loses when he concedes two or more unsuccessful tackles early on.

U.P. Yoddha will be coming into this game fresh off their home leg where they managed two ties between three defeats. Their defence looked in good touch in their previous match against Bengaluru Bulls but both their left raiders – Prashanth Kumar Rai and Shrikant Jadhav were neutralised by Right Corner Raju Lal Choudhary and Left Cover Mahender Singh. However, they will look to exploit the inconsistency in U Mumba’s Left Cover region and score points on that side of the mat. Nitesh Kumar in their Right Corner will be a key member of the squad and he will have to cut out the escape routes of Siddharth Desai and Rohit Baliyan much like Atrachali does to the opposition raiders.

The big battle -

Fazel Atrachali vs Rishank Devadiga

Fazel Atrachali’s inability to reach a High 5 in his two previous games has impacted his team’s results as they had to succumb to narrow defeats in both. While teams are now beginning to strategise against U Mumba keeping Atrachali as a big factor, it is only a matter of time before the Iranian is able to break through the patch and reach his A-game again. However, with U.P. Yoddha boasting of two left raiders, it will be Atrachali’s job to ensure that their right raider Rishank Devadiga is kept in check throughout the match.

However, being a keen student of the game, Devadiga will want to steer clear of Atrachali early in the game and rely on the defender to make the mistake. If he can force Atrachali to go for an advanced tackle and take him out of the equation for long enough, U.P. Yoddha’s chances of victory will go up exponentially. Devadiga has managed to get the better of the defender in their battles so far, being tackled just once in 5 attempts, which makes him the ideal candidate to take Atrachali head on.

Key Khiladi –

Siddharth Desai

Coming back into the team from an injury and scoring straight Super 10s in two successive games is no mean achievement but Siddharth Desai has managed to do just that. He spearheads the U Mumba offence and has the ability to pull off multiple point raids at will. However, his aggressive approach led to him being tackled 7 times in the game against Haryana Steelers. If he can use controlled aggression to pick out the U.P. Yoddha defenders one-by-one then there might be no stopping the U Mumba juggernaut.

Nitesh Kumar

U.P. Yoddha’s defence has always been vital to their success as their defenders’ have consistently been scoring around 9.5 tackle points per game in both their victories and defeats. Nitesh Kumar, who has individually scored 35.09% of the team’s tackle points this season, is someone who can influence matters against U Mumba given his form. He is right up there with Atrachali in the Best Defender’s list for Season 6 and he will want to win this personal battle against the Iranian and overtake him in this game which could also take his team over the line against an in-form U Mumba.

Factor This –

Fazel Atrachali’s tackle point average of 2 and tackle strike rate of 40% against U.P. Yoddha is his worst against any team in VIVO Pro Kabaddi.