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Pro Kabaddi 2016 Season 4: Puneri Paltan showing they are championship contenders

521   //    03 Jul 2016, 14:37 IST
Puneri Paltan
Puneri Paltan could actually go on and win the title.

Puneri Paltan continued with their astounding run this season as they beat Jaipur Pink Panthers 33-28 in the second match on Saturday to make their grip on the top of the table tighter, as they now have 19 points from 5 matches with 3 wins, 1 loss and a tie. Deepak Niwas Hooda had a great game for Pune as he was adjudged the Best Raider of the Match with 9 raid points. Captain Manjeet Chhhillar and Ravinder Pahal had substantial performances as well as they had 5 tackle points each to their name.

Coach of the winning side, K.Baskaran was interviewed at the post match conference. On being a coach of Jaipur Pink Panthers for the last couple of seasons, which made him well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the Panthers, and how it helped his team in the match: “Yes definitely, it did help. Our team displayed a good show on the mat today. I knew the strengths and weaknesses of the home side which increased our chances of tackling Jaipur raiders.”

Talking on the performance of Jaipur Pink Panthers in their home leg: “Jaipur Pink Panthers performed really well in their home phase. Playing 4 matches in a row is never easy for a team. They managed to keep defeat away from them in the first 3 matches which was comprehensive. Players also have mental and physical pressure when a team has busy schedule.”

Deepak Niwas Hooda, best raider of the match was asked a few questions at the conference. On his team leading this season and the players showing dominating performances on the court, and the secret behind it: “The team management retained me and Captain Manjeet Chillar this season. Plus, we have players like Ajay Thakur and Joginder Singh Narwal which add to the strength of the team. We have a unit of experienced players and the defence department is our main strength.

“Nitin Tomar is also doing a decent job as a raider. We have a good balance of raiders and defenders in our side. Every game is a new game and every team attempts to win. I hope we will continue to perform with the same enthusiasm in the coming fixtures,“ he said.

Talking about Sonu Narwal not being picked for the starting line-up, he said, “Yes, Sonu Narwal is definitely a good player. It is not possible to include every raider available to us in the squad as we have 6 of them. We need to change the team combination depending upon the situation. He had featured in the team in our previous matches. We generally formulate the strategy before the game. We decide the roles of each player during the morning session on the match day.”

The coach of Jaipur Pink Panthers, Balwan Singh was interviewed as well. On whether there was any psychological advantage with Puneri Paltan and their streak of wins so far in the tournament: “No, not at all! We were playing at home and had a big crowd supporting us so there was no point of pressure for us. Even we had a psychological advantage. The opposition was rather under pressure. We came up with good performance. The game was uncertain till the last minutes and could have gone either side.”

On his justification on a very big difference of points in the middle course of the game and the opposition’s lead: “The game is to be analysed in totality. An intermediate stage score has nothing to do with the performance of a team, as at last the difference was as low as 4-5 points.”

Rajesh Narwal, adding to that, said, “In the middle of the game, our left side defence got weak and the raider from opposition took some crucial points which resulted in a substantial lead.

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