Bengal Warriors beat Puneri Paltan 26-22 in a low-scoring thriller at The Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Bengal Warriors were represented by coach Jagdish Kumble at the post-match press conference while captain Girish Maruti Ernak and coach Ashan Kumar took questions for Puneri Paltan.
Q: This was a game where all three results were possible until the last two minutes. What do you have to say about the match?
Jagdish Kumble: Absolutely, it was a very close game. Maninder Singh has been performing since the last two matches, but all of the opposition defenders target him. Hence, we changed it up a little in the raiding department today by including Ravindra Ramesh Kumawat and Mithin Kumar. We changed our team as much as we could. The defenders played their part as well today.
Q: Do you credit your defence for this win?
Jagdish Kumble: I would credit my defence as they enabled our raiders to get points when it mattered the most. Our defenders nailed down their offence. This made it possible for Maninder Singh and Ravindra Ramesh Kumawat to get points off Do-or-Die raids. They performed as a unit in today’s match and were excellent.
Q: What do you have to say about young Ravindra Ramesh Kumawat?
Jagdish Kumble: He is a young man who earned his chance today. He showed everyone what he can do. He contributed in the defence by getting a tackle point as well. I think our strategy of playing youngsters paid off today.
Q: How difficult is it to digest such a loss where all three results could have been possible until the last two minutes?
Ashan Kumar: We were in a similar position in our previous game as well and should have won. We couldn’t do that today. Had we caught on to our tackles in Do-or-Die raids, the result would have been different. The turning point of the game was the Do-or-Die raid by Maninder Singh where he got two points.
Q: This was a game of two strong defences. Where do you think you lost the game?
Girish Maruti Ernak: We lost the game in the final few minutes. Bengal Warriors were on a Do-or-Die raid and we needed to get that point, so we had to tackle Maninder Singh. We could have caught him if he came in deep to raid. Our defence controlled the game but made a mistake where we shouldn’t have. Maninder Singh took two points from that raid and that made the difference.
Q: Do you take your performance today as a positive, despite not having your lead raider, Nitin Tomar?
Ashan Kumar: Our raiders have been doing their job. It would have been better if we had Nitin Tomar available. He contributes a little in the defence as well and that makes him better for our team combination.
Q: Do you think you didn’t score enough bonus points today?
Ashan Kumar: We started the game with two bonus points. As the game gets closer, the pressure on the raider increases so he doesn’t try to go for as many bonus points.