U.P. Yoddha narrowly emerged victorious over Dabang Delhi K.C. at the Patliputra Indoor Stadium in Patna on Sunday. Taking questions for the winning side at the post-match press conference were Prashanth Kumar Rai and coach Jasveer Singh, while captain Joginder Narwal and coach Krishan Kumar Hooda attended the press conference for Dabang Delhi K.C.

U.P. Yoddha

Q: Why was Rishank Devadiga not playing today?

Jasveer Singh: It was part of our plan to rest our main players before our home leg and to try the youngsters out. With our home leg coming up, they can get overawed facing that kind of pressure if they haven’t played before.  We also wanted to see how they play with each other. It gives us an opportunity to keep the reserve players match fit.

Q: Do you think the two All-Outs and Shrikant Jadhav’s Super Raid in the first half helped you put your mark on the game?

Prashanth Kumar Rai: An 8-point lead at half-time isn’t huge in VIVO Pro Kabaddi. It can be recovered in 2-3 minutes. The lead at half-time was an advantage for us today. It gave us a morale boost. But Dabang Delhi K.C. came back strongly. We didn’t have many tackle points in the first half, so we concentrated on defence in the second half, but our raiders performed brilliantly today.

Q: What do you consider to be the turning point of the game?

Prashanth Kumar Rai: It has to be my final raid. Shrikant and I both performed well today but Dabang Delhi K.C. almost took it away from us. They were ahead by a point before I went in to raid, but I got their two best defenders and that gave us the advantage.

Dabang Delhi K.C.

Q: Your team came back very well and almost won the game. What according to you, was the turning point of the game?

Krishan Kumar Hooda: We were leading by a point with around 40 seconds to go. That final raid by U.P. Yoddha where they got Joginder Narwal and Ravinder Pahal turned the game. It was a Do-or-Die raid and we shouldn’t have gone for an early tackle. Rather we should have let him work for the point. We lost the game, but I am very proud of how the boys came back after we were trailing by 8 points in the first half.

Q: How do you view this match, especially since it was raider-dominated?

Krishan Kumar Hooda: We will analyze this game tomorrow. Luck plays a part in the sport as well. We have won a few due to luck and lost a few as well. The mistake, though, was on our part when we went for the tackle on Rai. We shouldn’t have committed ourselves to the tackle, especially since it was a Do-or-Die raid and we were in the lead. Even if the raider got a bonus, we wouldn’t have lost.

Q: You had the opportunity to inflict an All-Out on them in the first half but couldn’t. Do you think that made the difference as you would then have had 2 more points?

Joginder Narwal: The raiders from both sides played well. Our youngsters, Naveen Kumar and Chandran Ranjit have performed extremely well. Before the season started, we didn’t have a recognised name as our lead raider, but these two youngsters have done extremely well. I made a mistake in that last raid; else we could have won the game or tied it at the very least.