Pro Kabaddi 2019, Match 54: Pardeep Narwal cries out for help as Patna Pirates suffer another loss
The three-time champions Patna squandered a seven-point lead that they had built early in the first half, to fall to yet another defeat as Gujarat completed the comeback to emerge victorious 29-26.
Pardeep Narwal got his team off to a flying start scoring seven raid points within the first six minutes from just six raids as his team got a quick All Out on Gujarat.
But they let it slip from that point on as Narwal went on to score just two more raid points the rest of the way from 13 more raids. Mohammad Esmaeil, with four raid points, was their next best raider.
The defence also gave away cheap points to Gujarat's raiders as they kept chipping away at the lead.
Speaking after the match, asked whether he was happy with his performance, Pardeep said,
"No, I'm not happy because I got caught on a crucial Do or Die raid towards the end which could have swung the match our way."
With just two minutes remaining, Patna were within three points at the time with a Do or Die raid for Gujarat to follow. This meant that they could have reduced the deficit to just one point had things gone their way.
When asked why Patna has not had the usual success this season Pardeep bluntly replied,
"I need other raiders to support me; who can get me back if I'm tackled and off the mat". "The defence also needs to click and avoid giving away easy points."
Coach Ram Mehar Singh felt the turning point of the game came early in the second half when Iranian Mohammad Esmaeil went for an advanced tackle on Gujarat raider GB More.
"Some loose defence and mistakes in the last five minutes cost us this game. When Esmaeil went for that tackle, that got rid of Neeraj (Kumar) as well which upset our defence", said the coach.
For the second consecutive night, the fans witnessed a collapse from Patna to start the second half. On Thursday too against Bengal Warriors, Patna had likewise let the game slip at the start of the second half after going into half-time trailing by just one point.
On why his team, for the second successive night, had made such a poor start following the half-time break the Patna coach replied,
"Needless advance tackles. When we had 5 men on the mat there was no need to go for this. We could have controlled the situation better."
Patna currently sits second from bottom in the table as they are tied on points with Telugu Titans but are above them due to a slightly better Score Difference.
Probed on his team's chances of a comeback Ram Mehar was optimistic.
"If a player doesn't believe in changing fortunes then they can't be players. Every player is competitive and believes that things can be turned around. We maintain the same approach. Otherwise, we wouldn't be playing."
Gujarat's win meanwhile broke a run of six consecutive defeat for the team, their longest ever losing streak in Pro Kabaddi history.
Coach Manpreet Singh was a relieved man at the end of it as he said,
"We have put in a lot of effort for this and this is a timely reward. It's been almost a month since our last win. We didn't play as well at home as we did in past seasons. Our fans have come to expect nothing but the best from us. So it's good to get a win for them and for us as a team."
Unlike their opponents, Gujarat got good raiding performances from two out of their three raiders with Rohit Gulia scoring a Super 10 while More GB had five raid points.
Manpreet admitted that the long break since the end of their home leg had played a part as the team got a chance to take a breather and come back refreshed.
"The break helped us for sure", said the coach. "We went away, looked at what we did wrong. We spent a lot of time on the practice mat, put out a lot of sweat and effort and this is the result of that."
Gujarat's win also means they continue their winning run over Patna which now stretches to three. Patna's only win in this rivalry came in the Season 5 final. All their league meetings have been won by Gujarat.
With the win, Gujarat moves up to seventh place in the table with 25 points.