Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: "Other boys make mistakes, Ranjith doesn't", says Gujarat coach Manpreet Singh
The Gujarat Fortunegiants must have surely had a feeling of deja vu on Friday night during their win against the Patna Pirates. For the second Pro Kabaddi match running, what had looked like a good lead for the team had been erased by their opponents in the closing stages of the game. However, some clear thinking and smarts helped them get over the line in the end, preventing a repeat of the outcome against the Tamil Thalaivas in their last match.
Coach Manpreet Singh erupted with joy when the final whistle blew and expressed his relief with the result after the game. “In the previous match as well, we played well. If Sachin had done a full raid last time, against Tamil Thalaivas, we would have won. Today we managed to do that. Ranjith understood the situation and used up all the time in the last Do or Die raid."
"In the final moments of every match, there is a lot of pressure on the players and all teams are equal, so it's tough. But today we saw out the match and I'm happy about that”, said the Fortunegiants’ coach.
Chandran Ranjith once again was superb for the Gujarat team, as he emerged the best raider in a match that featured the likes of Pardeep Narwal and Monu Goyat. And his coach was lavish in his praise of his raider. “I’m very happy with him. Other boys make mistakes, Ranjith doesn't. Whatever we say and plan, he does it correctly. He is very experienced and very mature”, said Manpreet.
He also went on to reveal how he had originally planned to unleash him only from the playoffs onward as a surprise package, but that his hand had been forced. “I didn't want to show him early. My initial plan was to keep him for the latter stages. But we had to reveal our cards due to all the teams in our zone being strong and so far it has worked well for us”, Manpreet added.
The Fortunegiants’ coach was captain of the champion Patna Pirates team from Season 3 and witnessed first hand the emergence of Pardeep Narwal. He mentioned that Pardeep wasn't at his best today and how that helped his team keep him off the mat and seize the initiative.
However, things could have been different for the Pirates had it not been for an error of judgement from their star man. Pardeep Narwal put in an empty raid on the penultimate raid instead of trying for a touch point and left just 30 seconds on the clock, which as mentioned above, Ranjith used up fully. It meant he was out thanks to it being a Do or Die raid, but it left no time for another Pirates raid, ensuring Gujarat won by a point.
Pirates coach Ram Mehar Singh admitted the error. “Yes, Pardeep should have tried for at least one point. If he had done that, Gujarat would have been forced to try something on the last raid because otherwise it would have ended in a tie," said Singh. While the Pirates’ raiding department has been phenomenal, it's defence has let the side down multiple times. Today though was different as they matched their opponents to finish with the same number of tackle points. It was the raiders instead who let them down.
Their coach too was very upfront in that regard. “Our corners did well, very well. We believe that Gujarat's raiders are not that good and their defence is strong. So we tried playing on our defence and they did a great job. Our raiders didn't perform as well as they have in recent matches and towards the end, we made many defensive errors. That's why we lost”, lamented Singh.
Pardeep Narwal had only 6 points and Monu Goyat just 4 as the Fortunegiants clamped down the explosive duo. Ram Mehar Singh praised the Gujarat defence for their efforts saying that they were “very good” and a key reason why his side could not be successful tonight.
Despite the loss, the Pirates are still top of Zone B with 66 points, comfortably ahead of the Bengal Warriors, who are 13 points behind. The Fortunegiants though have now jumped to the top of Zone A courtesy the win. The Fortunegiants have one more game to play in the Chennai leg while the Pirates are in action only in Jaipur, incidentally against the very same opponents that beat them tonight.