Pro Kabaddi League 2017 Season 5: We will win even if Pardeep Narwal puts just 50% effort, says Patna Pirates' coach ahead of final
It all comes down to this. Patna Pirates and Gujarat Fortunegiants will lock horns on Saturday in the Pro Kabaddi League final. After three months and a number of high-quality games, two of the most deserving teams will clash against each other in what promises to be a cracker of a contest.
While Gujarat peaked from the get-go, it's only recently that Patna have sprung into form. The Pirates managed to win only 10 of their 22 games in the group stage. Gujarat, on the other hand, won 15.
Patna coach, Ram Mehar Singh admits that he was under tremendous pressure before the season began. Having won two championships on the trot, Patna will head into this one with a realistic possibility of scoring a hat-trick of titles. It will be a feat that will be hard to replicate but the coach looked at ease in the pre-match press conference.
"When the season began, there was stress and pressure since we've been the champions for the past two seasons. We wondered what would happen this time around. Could we score a hat trick or not? There were a lot of questions hounding us," he said.
The outcome of Saturday's final will largely depend on how Pardeep Narwal performs against Gujarat's Iranian defenders - Fazel Atrachali and Abhozar Mighani.
The last time these two sides clashed in Jaipur, Gujarat emerged victorious, winning the match by four points. Pardeep managed to score just four raid points that night. But Mehar Singh is confident that his star raider will deliver when it matters the most.
"The Iranians are the best defenders in the league but we have the best raider in the world. Nobody comes close to Pardeep. The match will no doubt be good. Our previous games with Gujarat have been close. Pardeep's performance in the last three matches has been great. Even if he performs at 50% of that, we will win," he explained.
Doubts loom large over Patna's defence which has had to depend on Narwal to bail the side out time and again. Asked if he reckons whether his defenders are up for the challenge, Patna's coach felt that he may unleash a new tactic on Gujarat.
"Look at our previous matches especially against Haryana and Gujarat, our defence played well. When two teams are equal, you cannot say that one team will win for sure. In tomorrow's match, we will show that secret weapon. I am confident our defenders will perform well based on our previous 2-3 matches," he stated.