It was a thrilling day of kabaddi at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Saturday with both matches going down to the wire. Jaipur Pink Panthers squandered a 10-point lead in the first game of the day as they went down fighting against Dabang Delhi K.C. The Delhi outfit, brilliantly led by their Iranian captain Meraj Sheykh, backed their abilities despite a false start and clinched victory.

“It was not our day,” said Jaipur captain Manjeet Chhillar speaking at the post-match press conference. “We made mistakes in both offense and defence, and lost despite having a good team. Luck and Selvamani’s injury both played a part in our defeat today.” The team’s coach Balwan Singh too felt that the team dearly missed their star raider. “Selvamani’s injury was the turning point of the match,” said the coach. “We felt the absence of our youngest and best raider.”

‘One Man Army’ Manjeet Chhillar was also critical of his own performance. “Both teams made mistakes but our team felt the pressure because I couldn’t perform well when they needed me,” he quipped in a disappointed tone.

The Dabang Delhi camp, understandably, were full of smiles. “Our teamwork came through for us,” said their coach Dr. Ramesh Bhendigiri speaking of their victory. “We used the fact that we had experienced covers to our advantage. With our team playing well, we were confident we could even overcome a deficit of 12 or 13 points easily.” Asked what he thought made the difference for his team on the day, he said, “Bringing in substitute Abolfazl Maghsodlou definitely did the trick for us. It turned the tides in our favour.”

The losing team from the Zone B encounter, Telugu Titans, too were feeling disappointed after fighting well in the first half but failing to maintain their intensity throughout the game. Captain Rahul Chaudhari took full responsibility for the loss. “I feel even though the team played well we lost the match because of my performance,” he said dejected. He is all set to become the first raider to reach 500 raid points in the league but he insists the milestone is not something that’s on his mind right now. “Personal scores make one happy when the team wins. 500 points don’t have any value if it can’t help the team get over the line,” said the Raid Machine.

Rival captain Pardeep Narwal put in a mammoth effort to take his team through to victory and his Patna Pirates teammate Vishal Mane was all praise for the star raider. “No one has yet been able to gauge Pardeep’s timing in the ‘dupki’ and his raiding strategy. In this match, however, instead of the ‘dupki’, he used the jump to good effect. He modifies his style according to the situation,” the defender said before signing off.

Day 3 action continues in Hyderabad with two intense matches, so don’t forget to tune in and keep track with the official VIVO Pro Kabaddi mobile app. Download now!