Pro Kabaddi League 2018: "When our defence comes good, we are always in the match": Patna coach Ram Mehar Singh after victory over Yoddha
Season six of Pro Kabaddi witnessed easily its best match of the season thus far on Thursday evening as defending champions Patna Pirates beat UP Yoddha 43-41 in a close, tense battle.
The lead never crossed 4 points throughout as both teams kept chipping away at each other with neither side backed down by the other.
Pardeep Narwal had another Super 10 for the Pirates with 16 points, but the defence was key as a vastly improved performance from opening night saw the champions register their first win of the campaign
Patna coach Ram Mehar Singh, after the match, believed his defence came to the fore today.
“I've always said that if our defence comes good we will be in a good position. Today our defence played well”, said Singh. “The result is secondary, but when a team's defence plays well the match will be a close one.”
He added: “Today's match was a great game. Yoddha played very well. Anybody could have won till the last raid.”
Indeed that was the case as Shrikant Jadhav, who was Yoddha's top raider tonight with 12 raid points, was caught on the last raid just a few inches away from the midline with the game at 42-41 in favour of Patna.
The Yoddha today played without Jeeva Kumar, one of their main defenders. When asked about his omission from the matchday squad altogether, Yoddha coach Jasveer Singh said it wasn't because of injury, but rather “squad rotation”, something which they plan to do through the season.
Yoddha captain Rishank Devadiga, despite scoring 7 raid points was largely pacified by the Pirates’ defence. His aggressiveness seemed to wane as the match went on.
Asked about his performance Rishank said: “I actually started raiding aggressively and both me and Shrikant had decided that whoever gets a good start will keep attacking always. Also I felt me being away from the court would put pressure on the team and I was caught twice which led to our All Out, so I became a little more conservative.”
The Pirates and Yoddha will battle again next Wednesday in Sonipat in their next fixture.