Match – U Mumba vs UP Yoddha
Date – 30 December 2018, 8:00 PM IST
Venue – Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Kochi
After two and a half months of thrilling action in the group stage of the Pro Kabaddi League, we have reached the knockout rounds – the Playoffs. Former champions U Mumba take on UP Yoddha in the first eliminator as the playoffs kick off at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Kochi, Kerala.
U Mumba progressed from Zone B, qualifying behind Gujarat Fortunegiants, and have been in fine form winning three of their past five matches. The team has shown a great all-around balance on the mat with a stubborn defence fronted by a competent, powerful raiding unit. Siddharth Desai will be the key man in attack for them and hope to brush aside his shoulder concerns and get them to the qualifiers.
UP Yoddha will be buoyed by their recent run of form, having secured their qualification to the playoffs on the last day of the league stage with a thumping win over Bengal Warriors in Kolkata. They were one of the most in-form teams towards the end of the league stage and their defence has been the key contributor to their success. Nitesh Kumar has established himself as one of the best right corner defenders in the league and will be key for UP’s chances against U Mumba.
The two sides have met twice this season, splitting the two encounters, with the most recent fixture seeing the UP Yoddha triumph over U Mumba.
Form Guide (most recent to oldest):
U Mumba – L D W W W
UP Yoddha – W W W D W
Head to Head (Season 6):
Matches Played: 2
Won by U Mumba: 1
Won by UP Yoddha: 1
Matches Drawn: 0
Probable Starting 7:
Fazel Atrachali (c), Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Surender Singh, Rohit Rana, Abhishek Singh, Siddharth Desai, Rohit Baliyan
Rishank Devadiga (c), Nitesh Kumar, Prashant Kumar Rai, Shrikant Jadhav, Narender, Jeeva Kumar, Sachin Kumar
My dream XI
Siddharth Desai (17.5 Cr), Rohit Baliyan (14 Cr) and Rishank Devadiga (14.5 Cr) form the raiding unit of the Dream XI Fantasy Squad.
Siddharth Desai and Rohit Baliyan have formed one of the most effective raiding combinations this season in the Pro Kabaddi League. The two have worked seamlessly alongside each other as Rohit Baliyan has played the perfect second fiddle to the dominating force shown by Siddharth Desai on the mat. Rishank Devadiga showed great form in the crucial win over Bengal Warriors on the last day of the Kolkata leg and will hope to deliver yet again for the UP Yoddha.
Nitesh Kumar (15 Cr), Surender Singh (13.5 Cr) and Jeeva Kumar (12 Cr) form the defensive lineup of the Dream XI Fantasy Squad.
Nitesh Kumar ended the league stage as the top scoring defender with 83 tackle points in 22 matches, establishing himself as the deadliest right corner this season. He will aim to carry on his form, having played a key role in UP’s rise to the playoffs after a mid-season slump. Jeeva Kumar has used his experience well to provide the necessary support to his teammates from the cover position. Surender Singh has been one of the in-form cover defenders this season, racking up tackle points for the U Mumba side (61 points in 21 matches). He will be a key man in the U Mumba defence to support his skipper Fazel Atrachali.
Narender (13.5 Cr) forms the all-rounders of the Dream XI Fantasy Squad.
The cover defender Narender has been a mainstay in the UP Yoddha defence, supporting Nitesh Kumar ably. He gets a good number of assists in defence and has chipped in with crucial tackle points as well with ankle and double thigh holds.
Captain and vice-captain: Siddharth Desai and Rishank Devadiga
Alternative: Rishank Devadiga and Nitesh Kumar
Player to watch out for: Rishank Devadiga
The UP Yoddha skipper Rishank Devadiga had been in a poor run of form this season due to his injury concerns early on. However, he led the side well and hit form at the right time against the Bengal Warriors in a crunch clash. He will be hoping to continue the momentum against his former side U Mumba in the playoffs.