This match will be the second tee-off between the two sides after their earlier battle in the Sonepat leg finished 34-29 in Telugu Titans’ favour. Telugu Titans’ defence had a night to remember, as their Corner duo of Vishal Bhardwaj and Abozar Mighani combined to pick up nine tackle points off U.P. Yoddha and their Right Cover Farhad Milaghardan also chipped in with two tackle points. Raider Prashanth Kumar Rai contributed nine points for his side and captain Rishank Devadiga accounted for seven, but was tackled five times by the Telugu Titans’ defence.
Match 51(Zone B): U.P. Yoddha vs. Telugu Titans
Head-to-head: U.P. Yoddha 3-1 Telugu Titans
U.P. Yoddha had a tough fight against Bengal Warriors in their last home game which resulted in a 30-30 tie. The highlight of the game was the return to form of their captain Rishank Devadiga, who scored a Super 10 after a long wait. This continued the trend of at least one player from their raiding trio scoring well for the team and keeping the opposition under pressure. The team’s defence too rose to the occasion and managed to stave off several close calls to give the team some momentum in their home campaign.
After a 41-20 loss against U Mumba, Telugu Titans regrouped and retaliated in emphatic fashion by beating Patna Pirates by a scoreline of 53-32. Captain Bhardwaj picked off an astonishing nine tackle points in just eight attempts, the second-most in the team’s history, at a strike rate of 112.5. Mercurial raider Rahul Chaudhari was back to his best as he scored a season-high 17 raid points. In the process, he also became the first man in VIVO Pro Kabaddi history to reach 750 points, continuing his streak of being the league’s trendsetter.
The big battle –
Prashanth Kumar Rai vs. Abozar Mighani
U.P. Yoddha have the rare distinction of possessing two outstanding left raiders and one of them is Prashanth Kumar Rai. The raider has been his team’s go-to-man in offence, scoring 69 points in 10 matches. His innate ability to pick off bonus points will make him invaluable in the opening exchanges of the game. But picking up bonus points against Telugu Titans will be a tough proposition as their defence boasts of one of the best Right Corners in the game, Abozar Mighani.
Mighani has been a hawk in defence for his team, picking off raider-after-raider almost single-handedly on many occasions. Among players with more than 20 tackle points, Mighani’s strike rate of 72.41 is second only to teammate Bhardwaj, making them the most feared Corner duo in the league. With Rai and Shrikant Jadhav being left raiders and the former being a master at nicking a bonus point, Mighani will have his hands full all night in his attempts to limit the damage that the two raiders inflict.
Key Khiladi –
Shrikant Jadhav – U.P. Yoddha
In 10 games so far this campaign, raider Shrikant Jadhav has managed 69 raid points for U.P. Yoddha, going toe-to-toe and forming a formidable duo with teammate Prashanth Kumar Rai. Jadhav has managed only six raid points in his three opportunities against Telugu Titans and will be eager to have a go at their feared Corner duo of Bhardwaj and Mighani to improve that record.
Vishal Bhardwaj – Telugu Titans
Rarely do the spectators see a 10-tackle-point High 5 in VIVO Pro Kabaddi and Vishal Bhardwaj was a whisker away from doing just that in his last outing against reigning champions Patna Pirates. But he did score the most tackle points by a defender in a single match in this season. The Left Corner has been in outstanding form this campaign, leading the league with 4.33 average tackle points. With U.P. Yoddha’s right raider Rishank Devadiga coming back to form, Bhardwaj will face the tough task of keeping him quiet while Mighani takes on Rai and Jadhav.