A solid effort from Abhishek Singh and ‘Sultan’ Fazel Atrachali helped U Mumba beat Patna Pirates 30-26 at the Tau Devilal Sports Complex to book their berth in the vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 7 playoffs. At the post-match press conference, Coach Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan, captain Fazel Atrachali, Abhishek Singh and Sandeep Narwal took questions for U Mumba, while Patna Pirates’ coach Ram Mehar Singh and captain Pardeep Narwal represented their side.
Q. Coach, thoughts on making the playoffs?
Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan: Extremely pleased. I would like to congratulate the boys for a job well done.
Q. Fazel, your thoughts as captain?
Fazel Atrachali: I have always tried to give my best and I also expect the best from my teammates. And they haven't disappointed. I feel lucky to be the captain of U Mumba. We assembled a very good team and they have shown that on the mat as well.
Q. Coach, thoughts on the game?
Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan: We knew we had to contain Pardeep Narwal. The key to beating Patna Pirates is keeping Pardeep on the bench and hence, we focused on our defence more for this match. And they obviously executed the gameplan to perfection.
Q. Sandeep, was the plan to play aggressive against Pardeep?
Sandeep Narwal: Yes, that is exactly what the coach wanted us to do. He also has a certain personnel against a particular raider. Today he opted to play Young Chang Ko because he knew that he would be more effective in our gameplan for today.
Q. Coach, thoughts on the performance?
Ram Mehar Singh: We made some mistakes in attack and in defence. We had the game in our grasp, however, the Super Tackle on Pardeep followed by some loose defending gave them the lead. Later when we reduced them to three, Mohammad Esmaeil was tackled. So, we had the chance to win the game, but we couldn’t grab the opportunities when they were presented to us.
Q. Thoughts on your performance, Pardeep?
Pardeep Narwal: Obviously, I am a bit upset with my own performance. We did well towards the end of the first half and cut the deficit to just four but then let the game slip away in the second half.
Q. Coach, what do you think has struggled more this season, the offence or the defence?
Ram Mehar Singh: Both, in my opinion. Earlier in the season, the offence struggled, but in the last 3-4 matches since (Jang Kun) Lee’s return, the raiding unit has done its job. The defence, however, has been lackluster, even in the past few matches where the offence has done well.