Puneri Paltan won a thriller against Bengaluru Bulls 27-25 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune. Representing Puneri Paltan at the post-match press conference were captain Girish Maruti Ernak, coach Ashan Kumar and Akshay Jadhav while representing Bengaluru Bulls were captain Rohit Kumar and coach Randhir Singh.
Q: Is it safe to say that your home support is spurring your team on?
Girish Maruti Ernak: I would like to thank our supporters all over the country. We get motivated to perform better because of them. Apart from our defence and offence, the crowd support we have received has been really important and that has led us to win 3 successive games at home.
Q: How did you feel after saving your team from an All-Out twice?
Akshay Jadhav: I just needed one opportunity to give back to the team that has believed in me. Today I got that opportunity and made the most of it. I came off the bench and did what I was supposed to do. I’m very happy our defence and offence both worked, and we won.
Q: How do you view this win since all of your wins at home have been close affairs?
Ashan Kumar: The team played according to our strategy. Our strategy was to cut all three of their raiders (Pawan Sehrawat, Kashiling Adake and Rohit Kumar) off. All of their raiders are right raiders and so Rinku Narwal’s role became even more important. Our two Corners did a very good job and stopped their raiders from getting both, bonus and touch points. We kept Akshay Jadhav on the bench today as we wanted him to perform a particular job and he did just that when we required him to. Overall, I am very proud of the team and the win.
Q: Rohit, where do you think you lost the game?
Rohit Kumar: In the second half when Akshay Jadhav came in to raid and got five points in that short spell it really cost us. Had we held him to just a single bonus point, we could have had a bigger lead and controlled the score better. That’s where we could have managed the situation better.
Q: Was the defence the deciding factor in this game?
Randhir Singh: The game was in our hand till the last 15 seconds. We had a defender ready to come in and, irrespective of who came in to raid, we were confident we would get the tackle.
Q: Was the Akshay Jadhav Super Raid the turning point?
Randhir Singh: Definitely. We could have given him a point but instead, we gave up five. Had we managed that situation better, we would have been in the driver’s seat. Those extra points were huge. If we had the lead then, it would have forced their hand in offence and we would have had an easier time tackling them. That really was the turning point.