UP's second half resurgence
After starting the season with just three wins in their opening 10 matches, UP Yoddha rallied back to win 10 of their remaining 12 matches and picked up 52 points out of a possible 60 to finish third in the PKL 2019 standings to qualify for the playoffs.
Shrikant Jadhav – UP's leading raider
After struggling to find form early in the campaign, raider Shrikant Jadhav came into his own in the second half of the season and emerged as UP Yoddha's best raider with 139 raid points to his name. His best performance of the season came against Puneri Paltan, where he scored 15 points and led his team to victory.
While Shrikant has been the team's lead raider, the likes of rookie Surender Gill (66 raid points) and the experienced Rishank Devadiga (64 raid points) have provided good support throughout the season. So, the raiding unit is sorted for the Yoddhas. Plus they also have Monu Goyat (62 raid points) to call on when required.
Sumit and Nitesh – the best corner combo
UP Yoddha's strength this season has been their defence and Left Corner Sumit has been the star of that unit. The rookie defender has the third-most tackle points this season and has been in brilliant form throughout the campaign.
Sumit's partner, Right Corner and skipper Nitesh Kumar has also had a tremendous campaign and is trailing his teammate by just two tackle points on the leaderboard. Given the duo's performances, it is no surprise that UP are the league's second-best defensive unit with 246 tackle points. The duo are also well-supported by the covers Ashu Singh and Amit, who have scored 40 and 30 tackle points respectively.
Bengaluru Bulls's slump in run-in to playoffs
The defending champions started the season brightly with four wins in five matches but followed that up with two wins in the next seven. They managed four wins and a tie in their subsequent seven matches to qualify for the playoffs but finished the campaign with two straight losses to Jaipur Pink Panthers and UP Yoddha.
Bulls heavily reliant on Pawan Sehrawat
The reigning Most Valuable Player Pawan Sehrawat delivered another incredible campaign which saw him set a new league stage record of 308 raid points, as he led Bengaluru Bulls to the playoffs. He is currently on a run of 10 straight matches with a Super 10, which includes his 39-point performance against Haryana Steelers.
The rest of the raiding unit, however, has failed to impress this season. Skipper Rohit Kumar, who has not appeared in the last few games, finished the league stage with just 88 raid points, while Sumit Singh has scored 48 in his limited opportunities. Bengaluru Bulls will hope that Rohit and Sumit can up their game in the playoffs and provide some support to their talisman Sehrawat and revive him against the tought defensive unit of UP Yoddha.
Mahender Singh needs help in defence
For the third season running, Left Cover Mahender Singh has been the team's most successful defender. He has scored 55 tackle points in 19 appearances this season, with his best performance coming against Telugu Titans, where he finished with 7 tackle points.
Corner duo Amit Sheoran and Saurabh Nandal have combined to score 100 tackle points this season and are one of the most potent Corner combinations in the league. Bengaluru Bulls' defence is especially good in Super Tackle situations and has managed 26, which is the fourth-most this season. But, the defence will need to be on their toes against a well-stocked raiding unit of UP Yoddha.
Match star time and where to watch
Eliminator 1 clash between UP Yoddha and Bengaluru Bulls will start at 7.30 PM IST. The game will be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. Live stream of the match, meanwhile, will be available via HotStar.