An outstanding effort in defence from Puneri Paltan that saw them pick up six Super Tackles which propelled them over Jaipur Pink Panthers by a scoreline of 29-25. In the post-match press conference, Puneri Paltan were represented by coach Ashan Kumar, captain Girish Maruti Ernak and raider Nitin Tomar whereas Jaipur Pink Panthers coach Srinivas Reddy and captain Anup Kumar took questions for their side.

Puneri Paltan

Q: As a defender, what is your strategy when the raider is looking to get an All-Out against you?

Nitin Tomar: Both teams were playing on their defence. For most of the game, we were playing with 2-3 players. Our main aim was to not give any points to the raiders. We played back and waited for them to come to us. As a result, we could get 6 Super Tackles. My personal strategy was to not score many risky raid points as I knew they were waiting for me to go deep and then pounce on me.

Q: Jaipur Pink Panthers got an All-Out with around two minutes left and you were ahead by one point. Did it seem at that point that you might lose the game?

Girish Maruti Ernak: We played according to our strategy. We did not panic at any point because we knew we were in control. In the end, even if we are ahead by one point, we will win the game. We could not control the game yesterday, so we worked on it and came out on top today.

Q: Do you think captaincy is starting to improve your game?

Girish Maruti Ernak: The coach and my teammates both tell me that till the time I am on the mat, the raiders of the opposing team will not attack as much. I am the team’s main defender and captaincy is an additional responsibility which has made me more mature as a player. I have started to think more and hence I stay on the mat as long as I can. I also advise the players when I am on the mat, so I have to be there as much as I can since it helps the team.

Q: The whole game was played on the third raid. What was your strategy behind this?

Ashan Kumar: Our plan was to play today’s game fully on defence. We changed quite a few positions. We concentrated more on our defensive coordination since we lost out there yesterday. It helped us a lot. Our raiders are more than capable of playing on the third raid and they showed that today.

Jaipur Pink Panthers

Q: It was a close encounter. Puneri Paltan ran away with it towards the end. What occurred in those final two minutes?

Anup Kumar:  Our defence was outstanding on the night. But we could have done better in offence. Their six Super Tackles just took the game away from us.

Q: The game felt like it was their defence vs. your defence. What is your take on that?

Srinivas Reddy: Our defence had an incredible game. Our Cover and Corners were brilliant in the match. But when the opposition defence is piling up Super Tackle after Super Tackle, the raiders tend to be a bit weary and drift away from their natural game. And that is probably where we lost the match.

Q: Anup, you’ve been raiding with a low frequency. Any specific reason?

Anup Kumar: We have a bunch of quality raiders. We have Selvamani K., Deepak Hooda, Nitin Rawal and I. Hence, we try to divide the load among all of us equally. The coach planned for me to stay on the mat longer and control the pace of the match.