Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5 : Puneri Paltan captain Deepak Hooda sends warning to Patna Pirates
Puneri Paltan edged out U.P Yoddha in a thrilling encounter in Monday's first eliminator. After going down 10-3 inside the first five minutes, Pune rose from the dead to register a well deserved 40-38 victory. They will now play Patna Pirates on Tuesday for a spot in the final.
Despite trailing by a huge margin early in the game, the Paltan never lost their cool and continued to play with the same aggression and panache. As the minutes passed, Pune's influence on the game increased tenfold.
Captain Deepak Hooda suggested that his side were never nervous at any point despite trailing by what then seemed an insurmountable margin.
"There was absolutely no tension within the team because if we get nervous how are we supposed to reduce the lead? We were confident in our skills. We executed some good super tackles plus we have a good bench and that makes me very happy. I always knew the points would eventually come," he explained.
In what is expected to be a mouth-watering clash, Pune will battle Patna on Tuesday. After Pardeep Narwal's beastly performance on Monday, Patna enter the match as firm favorites. However Hooda sent across a warning to their rivals.
"We do not care who we play, our job is to perform. We will give our 100%, we do not have any preferences. We have beaten Patna in the league stage and took a huge lead against them, so we are not worried at all," he said.
Usual suspect Girish Ernak was in sublime form for Pune. The corner defender scored 7 tackle points and succeeded in keeping U.P's star raider Rishank Devadiga in check. Ernak revealed that he always knew he could get the better of Devadiga.
"I was not worried, we have played for the same club - Bharat Petroleum before. I know his game very well and that is why I was able to tackle him consistently. I didn't specially prepare for him," he stated.
It was refreshing to watch Pune captain Deepak Hooda, still only 23, handle his men on the mat when the going got tough. He never panicked and always made the right decisions during crunch situations.
"This win was because of my teammates. You are calling me captain cool, I am able to control the team because of them. More than myself, I have more confidence in Dharmaraj, Girish, Sandeep Narwal, Rinku Narwal, Rajesh Mondal. If they are besides me, I know I will never lose," Deepak signed off.