It has not been a season to remember for the Telugu Titans in the Pro Kabaddi League Season 5. The yellow brigade has struggled mightily and has managed to win just three matches out of the 13 they have played so far.
They have been condemned to defeat in as many as eight matches and were tied in one. There has been no semblance of coordination in the team that had ended in the third place in Season 2 two years ago.
The team continued their lacklustre form even in the initial stages of their Inter Zone Challenge encounter with Puneri Paltan at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Thursday. For the first 11 minutes of the match, Rahul and his men looked blank, not knowing how to score a point as the scoreboard showed 0-18 in favour of the Pune franchise.
The Titans by then had been subjected to two all outs in one of the worst starts possible for any team.
Like the true captain that he is, Chaudhari put that massive setback behind and pounced with ferocity in the second half to reduce the deficit to just four points as the Titans trailed 36-40 at one point. However, his efforts fell short in the end as the warrior was super tackled to see his team ultimately losing the battle, 37-42.
Rahul finished as the highest scorer for the Titans with nine points followed by Mohsen Maghsoudlou at 6. It was a comeback that was not to be.
Understandably, Chaudhari was morose in the post-match media interaction and seemed to be wiping off a tear or two.
“We had the right plans to tackle Puneri Paltan but nothing worked according to the strategy that we had. If only both offence and defence had combined to play together the way they played in the second half, the picture might have been different,” Chaudhari rued as he searched for the right words to explain the initial collapse.
Naveen Kumar, who is in the helm of a PKL team for the first team, too could not shed much light either.
“Our defence was abysmal in the first half. Players just could not play according to the strategy. There was a lot of pressure on the team. We hoped we would make a winning comeback in the second half the way things were going. The focus was on the do-or-die raids. But it was not to be,” he lamented, adding that Rahul Chaudhari’s super tackle came at an inopportune time for them and that snatched whatever little chance they had of winning.
“If Rahul had not been tackled, we might have had a different result.”
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When asked to explain their poor record this season, Kumar was short of words and could only answer that every time they lost, the matches had been close. That itself indicates that everything has been in disarray for them in Season 5.
“All other teams are also losing. Unfortunately, all our losses are coming with a margin of just 3-4 points,” was all he could manage.