Bengal Warriors took the match in the final minute and eked a two-point victory over defending champions Bengaluru Bulls at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Thursday. While Maninder Singh's haul of 17 raid points nearly matched Pawan Sehrawat's 19-point effort, it was Mohammad Nabibakhsh's nine points, including a High 5 of six tackle points, who made the difference in the end. Representatives from both the teams acknowledged the Iranian's efforts in the post-match press conference.
Q. What was your target going into the Kolkata leg?
BC Ramesh: Our thinking was to win all matches, and barring that one tied match, we did it.
Q. What was your plan in playing Mohammad Nabibakhsh?
BC Ramesh: We thought about it last night that we will play Nabibakhsh in the Right Cover and Jeeva Kumar in the Left Cover and then we discussed it with the captain in the morning... Nabibakhsh is unique in his style of play. He doesn't really have a position, as he can play both the right and left cover positions.
Q. What was the secret that led you to victory?
BC Ramesh: We put four raiders in; K. Prapanjan, Sukesh Hegde, Maninder Singh and Mohammed Nabibakhsh. Nabibakhsh can play defence as well. And we had these three raiders, so one of them is bound to get us points. If one gets out, I don't get worried. Nabibakhsh is a kind of a player who can turn the match around at any time. He will get points against the top players.
Q. What didn't go your way in the match?
Rohit Kumar: We erred after half time, when there were some five minutes remaining on the clock. We had a lead and we couldn't maintain it… the raiders made a mistake. We scored a lot of points, but because of the defence we couldn't quite control the game. Otherwise the game was even at most times, and we were even ahead. It's not like we were far behind in the game. We have six more games to go, we will keep trying.
Q. It looked like Mohammad Nabibakhsh was targeting Pawan Sehrawat. Were you surprised by this?
Rohit Kumar: When he had a few tackles at the start, we weren't really fazed. But then when he kept attacking, it's then we wondered what kind of defensive tactic they were trying to execute. At the end, he made the difference in the match.
Q. Pawan, you scored 19 points in the match, but did you feel you got adequate support from the team?
Pawan Sehrawat: Towards the end, I got tackled. Even if I had scored one point then we would have definitely won. But then Maninder Singh is also a good raider, and he took some points away. For that last raid (when tackled by Adarsh T), it wasn't like I was over-confident. Adarsh is also a good player.