Shouts of "Sachin, Sachin" turned the Poornima University in Jaipur into a cauldron of noise as the Rajasthan kabaddi team, boasting of the likes of Deepak Niwas Hooda, Sachin Tanwar and Raju Lal Choudhary prepared to host Maharashtra in the second quarterfinal of the ongoing 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championships.
With kabaddi mats laid on existing basketball courts and seating space arranged to host kabaddi aficionados, the stage was set for an exciting clash with the hosts keen to land a spot in the last four.
The Raju Lal-led side certainly did not disappoint as they outplayed Maharashtra in all departments to register a comfortable 47-34 win, courtesy of an all-round performance from the raiders and defenders alike.
One of the chief architects behind Rajasthan's dominating win was Sachin Tanwar, who brought in all his experience from the Pro Kabaddi League to the fore and formed a fine partnership with Deepak Hooda and Kamal Kishor on the raiding front.
With the hosts scheduled to face off against Railways in a tough semifinal clash, Sportskeeda caught up with Sachin in an exclusive chat as the youngster shares his thoughts on the crowd support, the prospect of facing off against an array of stars in the Railways squad and more.
Also Checkout: 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championship 2020 Schedule
Against Maharashtra, we played really well as a unit and both departments clicked. The home crowd support was fantastic and that really pushed us to give our best on the mat and in a way we fed on the energy from the crowd.
Rajasthan began their campaign well with a 57-11 win over West Bengal, then claimed a 54-13 win over Orissa and followed it up with a 55-27 win against Uttaranchal. In their Round of 16 match, the hosts handed a massive 53-33 loss to Kerala and asserted their dominance ahead of the quarterfinal stages.
Notably, Sachin's role as the side's main raider was only exercised during Rajasthan's match against Maharashtra, and the youngster spoke about how the strategy to play a few newcomers in the games prior to the quarterfinal worked to his side's advantage.
Our strategy was quite simple. We knew that Kerala didn't boast of a strong team and we reserved our best for Maharashtra since they are a strong side. That's why I didn't raid too much in the group stage matches.
Sachin was all in praise for his captain Raju Lal Chaudhary, who picked up a High 5 in the quarterfinal against Maharashtra to lead the way for his side on the defensive front.
I am thrilled the see Raju Bhai doing well for the side. As a captain he is fantastic, and in this game he showed why he's one of the best defenders in the game. Deepak Hooda has also done very well for us as an all-rounder. Although we play for different teams in the PKL, I have learnt a lot from him.
While Rajasthan have breezed through their oppositions in the lead up to the last four, they will face their toughest opponent yet in the defending champions, Indian Railways, but Sachin feels that the crowd support and a positive attitude will take his side through to the final.
We won't be under pressure in this game. We're playing at home, we have the crowd's support so we will assess every situation as it comes and play to the best of our abilities.
Personally, for Sachin, he will need to do his homework to get away from the grasp of two of the best corner defenders in the world, Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Ravinder Pahal. However, he signs off by stating that prior experience of playing against the duo will help him overcome their threat on the day.
I have played against both of them many times and in multiple tournaments and we have also played together. They both know my style of raiding and I know how to escape from their tackles. I will try to play the mind game and hopefully it will work in my favour.
Also See | 67th Senior National Kabaddi Championship 2020 Result