Bengal Warriors outclassed Haryana Steelers 48-36 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahalunge, Balewadi in Pune on Thursday. Looking back at the match, Bengal Warriors coach BC Ramesh and Haryana Steelers' Rakesh Kumar take questions in the post-match press conference.
Q. Your team has 63 points and the highest score difference, which means your playoff slot is almost confirmed. How happy are you?
BC Ramesh: Very happy! Our team’s coordination and bonding, between the raiders and the defenders, is going very well. Everyone is playing well. And looks like we are set for more competitive matches going forward.
Q. How do you see the matches going forward?
BC Ramesh: We had two groups earlier in the league, now we have only one. If you finish in the top two, you get to play directly in the semi-final. So our intention is to finish in the top two as that has good advantages. Whether we do this by playing seniors or resting them will depend on their moves on the mat, their body language and the players will be changed accordingly. Every match will have a different plan.
Q. Tackling a raider like Vikash Kandola often isn’t very easy. What do you have to say about Baldev Singh’s performance?
BC Ramesh: Baldev offers a solid defence. His game and skill are top notch. He has the speed and is bold with his moves as well. He gives it all in every match. His quality is improving steadily, compared to his performance from last season. I am very happy with him.
Q. It looked like the defence was lacking in the absence of Dharmaraj Cheralathan.
Rakesh Kumar: Absolutely! We missed the presence of our captain in this match. He keeps the team in control, no matter how he plays. We kept charging in for advance tackles after advance tackles… There was no one to lead the team that’s why we kept committing mistakes. The team did play better in the second half. But once the match washes off your hands, it’s done.
Q. Only a few tackles points were scored but your raiders performed very well.
Rakesh Kumar: Yes, the raiders did play well. The defence erred though. And they were such that we couldn’t make up for it. We didn’t time our tackles well as per our plan and we instead resorted to advance tackles, which didn’t work out for us.
Q. When is Cheralathan expected back?
Rakesh Kumar: He has a minor injury, so I rested him. And we have our home leg remaining, so we didn’t want to take any risks. We want him to be back soon.