Bengaluru Yodhas lose 5-2 to Mumbai Garuda in PWL semis

Bajrang Punia in action during his dominating 10 4 win over Mumbai Garudas Amit DhankharNew Delhi: The stage was set for an epic battle between perhaps the two strongest teams in the Pro Wrestling League but a combination of poor form and abiding misfortune with the coin toss saw Bengaluru Yodhas go down 5-2 to Mumbai Garuda in the semifinal of the Pro Wrestling League in New Delhi, on Friday.

The Mumbai Garuda's won the first four bouts of the best-of-seven tie against the Yodhas giving them an unassailable lead and entry into the final of the Pro Wrestling League. Yodhas' icon player Narsingh Yadav and Bajrang Punia delivered comprehensive victories but the two wins seemed to have come too late on the night.

Having lost the toss, Bengaluru Yodhas were dealt a blow as five-time World Championship medalist Yuliya Ratkevich's 58 kg category was blocked by Garuda's skipper Adeline Gray. Narsingh, the Yodhas' icon player, blocked the men's 57 kg class, benching Mumbai's Rahul Aware.

Pavlo Oliiynik opened the night for the Yodhas taking on Georgia's Elizbar Odikadze in the 97 kg category. Pavlo started off well, forcing Elizbar into an exposure position racking up two points. However, a comeback from Elizbar saw the Georgian pick up points consistently over the second period and took the bout by a 7-2 margin. Alyssa Lampe was the next wrestler on the mat and at the end of the first period it looked like the American was in control against Mumbai's Ritu Phogat as she led 4-0. However, a concerted fightback from Phogat saw the youngster pick up eight points in just a minute before she ended the contest by pinning Alyssa for the second time in as many matches.

Davit Modzmanashvili, who was the next fighter for the Yodhas, tried to force his team back into the tie. He started off well in his 125 kg contest against compatriot Giorgi Sakandalidze but agonisingly for the Yodhas, lost steam in the second period as Sakandalidze forced Davit into two exposures, forcing him to give up four points and bow out of the fight by a 7-4 scoreline. Nigeria's Odunayo Adekuoroye then won the tie for Mumbai Garuda in convincing fashion, taking apart Lalita Sehrawat 10-0 in the women's 53 kg category.

Narsingh Yadav then salvaged a little pride for Bengaluru Yodhas as he sent Mumbai's Pradeep packing with a very comfortable 7-0 win.

In the next bout, Mumbai's icon player Adeline Gray further increased the margin with a 10-0 win over Navjot Kaur.

With the last bout of the night featuring arch-rivals Bajrang Punia and Amit Dhankhar, the Yodhas' Bajrang signed off on a belligerent note as he defeated the overtly-aggressive Dhankhar 10-4 in what was a completely one-sided bout. The highlight of the bout was a swift reversal that Bajrang pulled in the first period, evading Dhankhar's leg attack and then applying the gut-wrench to pick up six vital points and chug into an 8-0 lead.