An outstanding defensive effort helped U.P. Yoddha upstage U Mumba by a scoreline of 34-29 to qualify for Eliminator 3 to take on Dabang Delhi K.C. In the post-match press conference, coach Jasveer Singh and captain Rishank Devadiga lauded their defence’s performance on the night.

While U Mumbai scored 18 raid points against U.P. Yoddha’s 12, what tilted the result in favour of the winners was the 18 tackle points they bagged against the former champions’ 11.

“We planned to play 60 per cent of the game on defence and it worked,” revealed Singh. “We didn’t attack much in our raids but they did. And when they were too advanced, we got tackle points off them.”

Skipper Devadiga, lauding his coach’s approach to deflect any pressure from the team, concurred and hinted that they were a sign of things to come. “We have relied on our defence and they haven’t disappointed,” he said. “So whatever strategy we are planning ahead of our matches, it is being executed which is very good for us.”

While veteran Jeeva Kumar managed to bag his first High 5 of the season, it was Nitesh Kumar who captured the limelight for U.P. Yoddha as he managed to record 8 tackle points on the night, receiving praise from the skipper.

“Nitesh has been in great form since the start of the season. The raiding unit wasn’t backing the defence earlier in the campaign but now we have hit a purple patch. We are feeding off Nitesh’s confidence,” Devadiga said.

Nitesh Kumar currently leads the tackle points tally for the season at 91 -– 11 more than the highest tally from the last campaign – and is eight more than the next highest.