Puneri Paltan lost 31-42 to UP Yoddha in the Eliminator 1 on February 21. The star for Yoddha was Pardeep Narwal, who scored 18 raid points.
The Paltan were coming into this match on the back of some impressive performances in their last few games. A bit of luck also helped them as Haryana Steelers lost to Patna Pirates in their last game of the league stage to give PP a chance to qualify at the sixth spot.
In the first five minutes of the Eliminator, Anup Kumar’s men seemed to be using the opportunity just the way they would have liked as they managed an eight-point lead on the Yoddha, effecting an early all out. Pardeep Narwal too was tackled in his very first raid.
But after the first all-out, the experienced UP Yoddha made a stunning comeback into the game as they gave two back to back all outs to Puneri Paltan. The main architect of that was Narwal.
The raider has immense experience of playing in the playoffs, and he generally keeps his best for the business end of the season. His performances in season 5 for the Pirates can’t be forgotten as he single-handedly led the Patna side to their third consecutive title.
Narwal has a stellar record in the playoffs as he averages almost 18 raid points per game. The 26-year-old eventually scored 18 raid points in the game, which included many multiple point raids.
When asked about Pardeep’s performance in the post-match press conference, Anup Kumar said:
“That was a turning point. They got a 2-3 point lead after that. Then Aslam got tackled. Then, Pardeep executed multi-point raids. He scored a 5-pointer raid and two raids of three points each, so it’s a total of 11 points here itself.”
The Puneri Paltan defence couldn’t recover from these raids as they looked rattled for the most part of the game thereafter. Sombir continuously leaked points from one end.
Kumar was also asked about the absence of an experienced raider in Rahul Choudhary in such a situation to which he didn’t reply and responded with “No comments.”