Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: "We came in fresh and hit them hard", says Telugu Titans captain Rohit Rana after crushing win
In a match with high expectations, the Tamil Thalaivas were humbled at home by their southern rivals, the Telugu Titans. Expecting a good fight from their home team as they went in search of their first home win, the Thalaivas' fans were left disappointed as they were crushed by Rahul Chaudhari's Titans 58-37. The Titans, in the process, posted the highest team score of Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5, breaking the earlier mark set by the Patna Pirates.
Thalaivas coach K. Baskaran was left clutching at straws to explain his side's abject performance as he seemed clearly shaken by the result.
"We didn't have success with our defence today. Our raiders did fairly well. We gave many easy points to Rahul Chaudhari and Nilesh Salunkhe, because of which we fell behind early", said Baskaran, whose side were All Out an incredible four times in this match, twice in each half.
Their lead defender, Amit Hooda had another horror night with none of his five attempted tackles proving successful. The Titans' raiders feasted on the freebies given away by the Thalaivas defence as each of them finished with a Super 10 -- Rahul led the way with 16 points, Mohsen Maghsoudlou had 12 and Nilesh had 11.
20 of the Thalaivas' 37 points were scored by their captain Ajay Thakur from his raids, but it was to prove an effort in futility as the rest of the side barely put up a fight.
Ajay scored his 20 points from 23 raids. When asked why Ajay put in so many raids, coach Baskaran replied, "He was feeling good and confident that he could go and get points for the team. So, we let him go ahead. Plus, Prapanjan struggled today."
The Telugu Titans have been a team that the rest of the league has found easy to beat this season with their many weaknesses being exploited. With Tuesday's result, the Thalaivas, however, ended the season without a single win against the Titans. When asked about why they have been unable to get going against the Titans, coach Baskaran said each loss was different.
"First match we lost because of Rahul Chaudhari and Nilesh Salunkhe. Rahul Chaudhari is the hero of the first few seasons of PKL and this season too, he has been doing well. The young players were perhaps overawed by the occasion and the star names. It was also the very first match of the season. In the second match, I feel the team was too eager to beat them after what had happened in the first one and thus put pressure on themselves and lost the match", explained Baskaran about the clashes versus the Titans.
The Thalaivas have the UP Yoddha and Bengaluru Bulls to play in the remaining games at Chennai. Coach Baskaran feels that the Bulls "are an equal team".
"Bengaluru Bulls are a team equal to us I feel. UP Yoddha are a more experienced and a better team than us. But, we hope to recover soon from this defeat and hit back against those sides", a hopeful Baskaran said.
Meanwhile, the Telugu Titans captain Rohit Rana was happy with the huge 21-point win for his team. He said that the break perhaps played a role in the win.
"Tamil Thalaivas have been playing continuously from Friday. We have had a long break before today's match. Maybe that played a part. We came in fresh and fully charged and had decided to go hard at them. It paid off for us as we won big", said Rana.
Rahul Chaudhari's performances have visibly improved since Rana was given the captaincy. Asked how he feels about the captaincy, he said that it was a decision taken by the team which he followed.
"The team decides who is the captain. I don't think about it much. Rahul has always done well for us whether he is the captain or not. For me, I don't consider it additional pressure. In fact, it gives me a boost to do well for the team", Rana admitted.
With the win, the Titans moved to within one point of the third-placed UP Yoddha in Zone B. The Thalaivas, tied with the Bengaluru Bulls on points, languished at sixth after the massive margin of defeat.