Pro Kabaddi League Season 9 : UP Yoddhas road to play-offs

Pro Kabaddi League Season 9 UP Yoddhas Road to play-offs

The fourth team that we are going to talk about in our road to playoffs series is U.P. Yoddhas who has had a roller-coaster of a season.

U.P. Yoddhas, coached by Jasveer Singh, the former PKL champion where he won the PKL trophy in the first season with Jaipur Pink Panthers and captained by Pardeep Narwal, who is a three-time PKL champion with Patna Pirates have reached the PKL-09 playoffs.

This franchise was introduced to the competition in the year 2017 but hasn’t managed to play the final even once, let alone win the trophy. Their team looked good this time around as they managed to retain their top defender Nitesh Kumar along with some young guns like raider Surender Gill, who has been a very important player for them this season, and defender Ashu Singh.

They released Pardeep Narwal before the auction because they had bought him at INR 1.65 crores the previous season and believed that they could get him at a much lesser rate this time. The management’s decision got proved right as they hired the services of Pardeep Narwal for another season for INR 90 lacs, which was very less than the previous year’s price.

Among the big names, they also bought Abozar Mighani (INR 20 lacs), the Iranian defender, and Nitin Tomar (INR 10 lacs) in the auction to join their squad. Their squad looked good with a lot of experienced players.

Their journey to the playoffs started with a close win against Jaipur Pink Panthers (34-32) and then faced two straight losses but managed to get a point each as they lost by less than the 7-point margin. In their next three matches, they won two again and lost against Gujarat (45-51) but again by less than the 7-point margin which fetched them a point.

The most noticeable thing till now was the rise of Surender Gill and how he complemented Pardeep Narwal. In a team where Pardeep Narwal is the captain, Surender Gill was performing the role of lead raider and doing super raids at crucial stages. In their next five matches, they managed to win only one against Telugu Titans (43-24), lost two against Patna Pirates (29-34) and Puneri Paltan (31-40), and tied two against Haryana Steelers (36-36) and Bengal Warriors (41-41).

At the halfway mark in the league stage, they weren’t in a very good position where they won just 4 out of 11 games. In their next three league games, they won all three quite dominantly due to the heroics of their raiders, Surender Gill and Pardeep Narwal.

They lost their 15th game of the season to the table toppers, Jaipur Pink Panthers, by 13 points. After this game, they regrouped again, played as a team, and confirmed their playoff berth by winning the next four consecutive matches. Their playoff place was confirmed provided they didn’t lose their remaining matches by a big margin.

In the last three league matches, they lost two and managed to win the final one against Puneri Paltan (45-41). Surender Gill has clearly been the X-factor for them this time around and has helped release all the pressure from Pardeep Narwal.

Gill is the most important player for them from the playoff perspective as he can change the game anytime with his Super raids. U.P. Yoddhas finished fourth on the points table with 12 wins, 8 losses, and 2 tied matches. They managed to gather a total of 71 points this season.

U.P. Yoddhas will now face Tamil Thalaivas in Eliminator 2 of the PKL-09 on 13th December, 2022. The winner of this match will go on to face Puneri Paltan in Semi-Final 2 on 15th December, 2022.