'We have two tigers': Pirates coach Ram Mehar Singh ahead of Pro Kabaddi League final
The Patna Pirates made it a three-peat of finals in the Pro Kabaddi League when they beat the Bengal Warriors on Thursday night in Qualifier 2 in Chennai.
The scoreline at the end read 47-44 to the Pirates, but that was largely the result of a late flurry from the Warriors. It was largely a dominant Pirates display otherwise as they finally beat the Warriors after having lost one and drawn the other two games during the league phase.
A beaming Ram Mehar Singh, coach of the Patna Pirates was rightfully pleased after the match saying, “Thanks to your prayers we're here once again”, referring to his team making a third straight final.
The Pirates inflicted three All Outs on their opponents while suffering only one in return and the destruction started early, Pardeep Narwal picking up a 5-point raid early to get the Warriors All Out inside five minutes.
“The match was in our control from beginning. Yes, we made some mistakes in those last few minutes because of which we got some unnecessary tension”, added Singh as he lamented his team's mistakes which almost threatened to cost them the game.
Accompanied by Pardeep and Monu Goyat at the post-match press conference, Singh went on to say, “I have two tigers in Pardeep and Monu. With them in our team we are always confident of winning.”
One of those tigers though had a quiet night. He looked off his game, sluggish even, but Singh wasn't worried.
When asked about it, Singh replied, “Yes, he had only 6 points, but Monu always gives us good starts. Even today, he picked up those bonus points and gave us the start. Then pardeep came and picked up the 5-point raid.”
The Pirates led 21-12 at the break and went on to inflict two more All Outs in the second half, but some callous defending and the Warriors trapping Pardeep a couple of times saw the Warriors fight gamely till the end and reduce the deficit to three led by their lead raider, Maninder Singh, who finished with 17 points.
Singh though was not worried. “Few situations at the end yes, we didn't play well. Check Maninder’s points till about 30 minutes”, he quipped.
Another day, another record came the way of the irrepressible Pardeep Narwal who became the first to cross 600 raid points in PKL with his 23-point effort on the night.
This victory represented a second successive dominant display for the Pirates after their 69-30 walloping of the Haryana Steelers in Eliminator 2 earlier this week.
Coach Singh said that result against Haryana was huge.
“The match against Haryana was big for us. After watching that game, other teams must have gotten tensed looking at our display and the way Pardeep played. No one had played such a game earlier,
69 points, 39-point victory margin. Then against Puneri Paltan, another strong defensive team, we covered up a 10-point deficit in the final five minutes. Teams know what we can do” Singh exclaimed.
The Pirates will play the Gujarat Fortunegiants in the final on Saturday, a side they've not beaten yet.
Singh though was bullish and proclaimed, “If Pardeep plays to 50% of his ability we'll win.”
After initially refusing to be drawn into talk of the final, Singh did end up talking about the final battle against the Fortunegiants in what has become a tasty rivalry.
“Against Gujarat in our two matches, their raiders have not troubled us so far”, Singh claimed. “We just need to plan for their defence.”
When asked about his Fortunegiants counterpart, Manpreet Singh’s, comments about not allowing Pardeep a Super 10, Singh replied with a smile, “Every team has played Pardeep. Every one of them says that they will not allow him to get a super 10. Are they successful?
“Yes, Gujarat defence is little better than others. But as you know it's difficult to stop Pardeep. He has broken all the records that are there. If he avoids the mistakes that he's done in the past, we will win”, Singh boldly stated.
Both of these teams haven't been afraid to take swipes at each other in the past and Singh finished by aiming another subtle dig at the Fortunegiants.
“We will talk about the final later. We are just going to play with a free mind on Saturday and give all the answers to whoever after that”, the Pirates’ coach concluded.