UP Yoddha were the last team to book their place in the playoffs in season 7 after beating Dabang Delhi KC in their first home game in Greater Noida. Coach Jasveer Singh and his boys will now want to get the better of Bengaluru Bulls in the eliminator to get a ticket for the semi-final game.
Why will they win
Before the start of the seventh edition of the league, there was a lot that was discussed regarding the raiding trio of UP Yoddha which comprises Monu Goyat, Rishank Devadiga and Shrikant Jadhav with them. The team, although, had a poor start to the tournament, they got together really well towards the middle of the league and kept on performing consistently till they made it to the playoffs by winning their first home game.
However, if we take a look at their journey in the season then we find that it’s not the big names those who won matches for the team. Shrikant Jadhav is their best raider so far in the tournament with a total of 139 raid points. Going into the playoffs, the team would want Jadhav to do well as they look forward to playing in the finals for the first time ever in the league history. Monu’s injury in the league stage gave them a chance to test Surender Gill and the young raider came good for the team and he will be good support for Jadhav in the knock-out matches.
UP Yoddha’s strength is their defence. After Nitesh Kumar starred for them in the previous season with 100 tackle points, this year they have discovered a star for the left corner. Sumit is their best defender so far in the league with a total of 72 tackle points at that position. In the initial passage of the league, when Nitesh was not doing that well, it was Sumit who stood up and helped the team get tackle points in many crucial situations. Sumit is at the third place on the defenders’ list and coming back to form, skipper Nitesh is not that far. The right corner is in fourth place at the moment with a total of 70 points from 22 games. If the duo continues with the way they have been playing together in the season, then they might make the lives of the many raiders difficult on the mat. The two corners have been playing together for many years for the same club in their village and that has benefitted UP a lot in this season.
Why they might not
Jasveer Singh and his deputy Arjun Singh will have to ensure that they get the raiding combination right ahead of the playoffs. With Jadhav and Gill doing well in the raiding department, it will be interesting to see who are the other two raiders apart from Jadhav in the playoff games. Goyat came back after an injury and performed well in the home leg which must have given the raider some confidence going into the business end of the competition. Rishank’s presence on the mat is important as it is evident that the senior pro is the man who does most of the talking on the mat. His experience will be handy and that is the headache for the team management ahead of the playoffs as they have an inexperienced skipper in Nitesh who doesn’t have the experience of leading the team in pressure games.
UP’s cover defenders Ashu Singh and Amit are a cause of concern for them as well. Both the players have been poor this season. Amit, at the left-cover, has 30 tackle points at a strike rate of just above 37 while his partner Ashu has scored 40 with a strike rate of just more than 40. Although, Ashu showed great composure in the last game and got a high 5, both of them need to ensure that they come with some good show as the corner combination is already doing wonders for the team. On a one-off day, if Nitesh and Sumit fail together then it will be really difficult for UP to overcome the challenge against any of the teams who are in the playoffs.
Overall, the Uttar Pradesh-based team have moved into the playoffs for the third time in three years they have played in the league and they will try their level best to ensure that they take things forward into the finals and lay their hands on the coveted trophy on October 19 this time around. In their eliminator game, the UP Yoddha will take on defending champions Bengaluru Bulls on Monday.