Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: Haryana Steelers coach labels Pune loss as 'worst performance of the season'
The Puneri Paltan outplayed the Haryana Steelers in Wednesday's Pro Kabaddi League encounter. Securing a massive 16-point victory over the home side, Pune handed Haryana their first loss in six games.
The Steelers, who were flying high owing to some supremely dominant performances, were humbled by a Pune side who played at a high tempo from the very beginning. Captain Deepak Hooda led from the front, scoring an impressive 13 points on the night.
Post the game, Haryana's coach Ranbir Singh Khokhar was extremely critical of his players. He believes, apart from Deepak, none of his players were ready to play, suggesting that the entire team took things very lightly.
"Nobody apart from Deepak Dahiya seemed ready for the match. This was our worst performance this season. Yes, we lost to the Telugu Titans but tonight was even worse. We had four chances to take the lead and failed to take them," he stated.
Singh reckons the race to the playoff spot will more or less be decided in the Ranchi leg. With every team having played 10 matches so far, it's fair to say the upcoming leg in Patna will prove to be a pivotal week for every single team.
"This Haryana leg comes right in the middle of the tournament. So who will enter the playoffs will be decided in Ranchi and only the six best teams can do this. It's going to be very tough, as there are many teams who are on equal footing," he explained.
The coach believes for Haryana to qualify for the playoffs, they will have to win at least 60% of their upcoming matches. The Steelers have played fourteen matches, thus completing a large chunk of their league games.
"Gujarat and our team are on equal points. To qualify, we must win at least six of our upcoming games as we have nine matches left," he said.
Haryana, who are in Zone A, have a great chance to make it to the playoffs as long as they don't let complacency creep in. So far, they've been one of the most consistent teams in the league.
However, with games coming in thick and fast, teams must ensure they don't veer off track at the business end of the tournament. Gujarat and Haryana look favorites to qualify from Zone A but the chasing pack looks equally determined to give them a run for their money.
The Steelers will next play Jaipur Pink Panthers on Thursday.