Patna Pirates' loss to U Mumba at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Haryana on Saturday despite star raider and captain Pardeep Narwal's prodigious haul was primarily due to lapses in their defence, according to coach Ram Mehar Singh.
In the season's highest-scoring match, Mumbai scored 51 points to take the victory over Patna's 41, of which Pardeep bagged 21, equalling the season record set by himself against Jaipur Pink Panthers earlier this week.
"We didn't expect their raiders to score so much," said Ram Mehar Singh, "While our main defenders [Vishal Mane, Sachin Shingade and Satish] didn't get any tackle points. Zero. It was a minus for us. When three seniors in the team don't deliver, then what can the raider do? Pardeep was getting one point, but the defenders were giving away two points.”
He added: "Today Pardeep got 21 points, and when he gets so many, the team wins 99 percent of the times. But the defence had already decided that even if he gets 30-40 points, the win won't come. What can you do? It was as if our defence had started challenging Pardeep. That proved our downfall."
In the last seven matches, Pardeep has collected an astonishing 98 points, averaging 14 per outing and including five Super 10s. Ram Mehar Singh insisted he wouldn’t be surprised if Pardeep soon scored 50 points in a single match. "Impossible is nothing!" he said. "The way Pardeep is going, everything is possible."
The Patna coach, however, went on to dismiss the notion that his side was overly dependent on the captain's raiding skills. "Yesterday [against Haryana Steelers] Monu [Goyat] did well too," he pointed out. "But even if Pardeep is alone, that's sufficient. The defence should do their job. They played very weak today especially our trusted players… We had plans and tactics but they failed."