Noida: On a night when a win was something that was desperately needed for Bengaluru Yodhas, a masterful display, one packed with steely determination saw them clinch a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Punjab Royals at a packed Gautam Buddha University Indoor Stadium in Greater Noida on Sunday night.
With just one win from three matches, it was integral for the Yodhas to record a victory to bolster their claim for a semi-final spot. Having lost the toss, the Royals benched one of the Yodhas' frontline grapplers Bajrang Punia in the 65 kg category. Bengaluru Yodhas' captain Narsingh Yadav who did not have too many option in weight categories to block, decided on dropping the 75 kg women's class, forcing Navjot Kaur to sit out the tie.
The Yodhas began the match in rather edgy fashion as Pavlo Oliiynik was almost pushed over the edge as he attempted to defend a one-point lead. Leading 4-3 in the last ten seconds, Pavlo's opponent Punjab's Mausam Khatri picked up a caution point drawing level. Fortunately for the Yodhas, the referee awarded the bout to the Ukrainian, by virtue of having scored more technical points.
The moment of the night and one that demonstrated the determination of the Yodhas to achieve victory arrived just a few minutes later. Alyssa Lampe fronted up against Yana Rattigan in the 48 kg category. Rattigan opened in strong fashion, taking a four point lead but Alyssa came roaring back, employing two big 'fireman's lifts' to take an eight point lead. Rattigan though regained the advantage with a four-pointer and another two points of exposure. With the score 14-12 at the beginning of the second period, Alyssa bided her time, drawing Rattigan in before unleashing two ferocious take-downs and a couple of exposures to take the match on technical superiority with the score at 24-14.
Punjab Royals pulled things back in the third bout of the contest as World Champion Vladimir Khinchegashvili recorded a relatively straightforward 12-2 win over Sandeep Tomar in the 57 kg category.
The Yodhas though regained the advantage soon enough. In the women's 53-kg category, Lalita Sehrawat took on Priyanka Phogat in what was touted as a battle of equals. Having taken a slender 1-0 lead into the break, Lalita was done in by an aggressive Priyanka who came to life in the second period, forcing Lalita on the mat and picking up two points. The Punjab wrestler resisted well, holding off multiple attacks from Lalita. However, the 23-year-old Sehrawat did not seem to let up. With just three seconds to go, Lalita managed a firm hold on Priyanka's waist, forcing her into an exposure position and picking up two crucial points right at the death, giving the Yodhas a 3-2 win.
With a victory needed to seal the tie, Davit Modzmanashvili delivered it in comfortable fashion. A 5-0 defeat of Mongolian wrestler Jagarsaikhlan Chulunbaat, one in which the Mongolian 125 kg wrestler, simply did not come to grips with Davit's strength gave the Yodhas the all-important tie.
Geeta Phogat reduced the deficit for the Punjab Royals, pinching victory against Yuliya Ratkevich in the dying seconds of the second period, earning an 8-9 win.
The Yodhas' superiority over the Royals was stamped in the last bout of the night when Narsingh Yadav braved a deep cut on his lip to put out Parveen Rana by a 6-3 score.
With this win, Bengaluru Yodhas move on to third spot on the Pro Wrestling League table with four points from four matches. The team will now travel back home to Bengaluru for the home leg where they are slated to face the Dilli Veer on the 23rd of December at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium at 7 pm.