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Pro Kabaddi 2016, Season 4: Good defence earned us crucial points, acknowledges Patna Pirates coach

U Mumba coach Bhaskaran E also lauds his team's comeback.

Patna Pirates vs U Mumba
Patna Pirates’ defence earned praise from coach Arjun Singh after their win against U Mumba

Patna Pirates continued their winning run in the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi with a win over U Mumba as the defending champions edged past the winners of the second season in a tense finish at Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Jaipur on Wednesday. The Pirates had secured a 10 point lead at with just 9 minutes left on the clock but U Mumba showed why they’re one of the most feared teams in the league as they bounced back to bring the scores level by the 39th minute. However, young Pardeep Narwal swung the game in the favour of the champions with a successful raid in the last minute.

Pirates coach Arjun Singh acknowledged in the post match conference that U Mumba came too close for comfort. Talking to the media, he said, “It was a neck-to-neck clash between both the teams. Both the teams were equally good. We have worked really hard in the practice sessions and that comes to the fore in close finishes like these.” When asked whether there was a strategy that helped them keep calm when tensions reached fever pitch in the last few minutes, he replied, “There is no such strategy. It was a nail-biting encounter and a rigorous fight between both the opponents.”

Although his team looked clueless in the face of Rishank Devadiga’s raids in the last 10 minutes, he went on to add some praise for his defence when he said, “Good defence earned us crucial points right through the match.” The defence, much to the coach’s joy, foiled Anup Kumar’s last minute raid which could have tilted the game in the favour of U Mumba.

Bajirao Hodage, who was the lynchpin of Bengal’s defence till last season and is proving to do an equally good job for his new team, gave an insight into what went through the Pirates’ minds during Anup Kumar’s last minute raid. “We basically focused on our defence positions. When we were leading by 1 point, it was Anup’s raid which was very important to be tackled and we were successful in doing so.”

Also Read: Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4: Patna Pirates win 36-34 against U Mumba

U Mumba coach Bhaskaran E was graceful even in defeat. “We really played well today but the result was not in our favour. Last season as well, after losing initial matches, our team regained the lost momentum in the rest matches. I hope we will get favourable results in the upcoming matches. As a coach, I am really happy with the team’s efforts today, he said in the press conference.

The coach also threw light on the adrenaline rush in the last few minutes which saw the team losing composure for a while. He said, “Players turned aggressive in the last moments of the match and for the same reason; we took a time-out to balance the things. After trailing at the end of first half, our players regained the control and played sensibly and took the match to a close finish.”

The match was billed as a revenge game between the last year’s finalists and was an opportunity for U Mumba to bounce back after a humbling defeat at the hands of Puneri Paltan in Mumbai. But the 19-year-old Pardeep Narwal single-handedly made a mess of Mumbai’s plans as he scored 18 raid points in the match. The impact of the youngster on the match can be gauged by the fact that star raiders of U Mumba, Rishank Devadiga and Anup Kumar combined to scored less than Narwal.

After a competitive first half, Pardeep Narwal completely demolished the U Mumba defence in the first 10 minutes of second half. The men in orange and black were left in a daze as the in no time the scoreline showed a 10 point lead in favour of the Pirates. But Rishank Devadiga rose to the occasion and left the Patna defence in such a daze that they conceded technical points. Though U Mumba couldn’t script a miraculous jailbreak that at one point seemed probable, especially after they had brought the scores level, the superlative performance by both the teams made for great viewing.

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