Jaipur Pink Panthers ended their second leg of VIVO Pro Kabaddi with their first win of Season 5 at Nagpur’s Mankapur Indoor Stadium on Thursday. After an 11-day break since their defeat to Dabang Delhi K.C., Jaipur had a lot of time to work on their strategies and looked determined to leave bad memories of that loss behind. “Yes, a win was really important for us because we lost our first match. We had an eleven-day break before this match. During that time our coach worked really hard with us. We also rectified the mistakes we made in the first match. The team really played well together,” captain Manjeet Chhillar, star of the match with nine points, said after a 30-28 win.
Puneri Paltan were in great form going into the match but Jaipur coach Balwan Singh said he had confidence in his team’s ability to hand the Paltan their first defeat of the season. “See, we wanted a win. I knew we could win this game because after the loss the players were motivated to play better. We also have Manjeet in the team, who is one of the best all-rounders in India. So, I was confident that the team will win this game.”
Ex-Puneri Paltan man Chhillar, however, felt that Pune were over-confident before entering the match which led to their loss. “This season, their coach is new but I have played a lot of matches with Deepak Hooda and Sandeep Narwal. So, I had an idea about what their strategy will be like. I think they were over-confident because they won their last two matches. We have got an advantage from that,” he said.
It all came down to the last raid of the day, where Sandeep Narwal erred to everyone’s disbelief. With two men in the opponent ring and last few seconds on the clock, he needed to effect an All-Out to win but he ran back after a single touch point. Narwal admitted he was at fault. “I definitely should have taken the last defender out, but it was my fault. I misjudged and that’s why the error happened. I didn’t look at the clock. I thought there was time still left in the game. Hence, I didn’t go for the second one as the very next raid was a do-or-die raid for Jaipur. I thought that if we could tackle their raider, then we will get points for that as well. It’s because of the miscalculation of time that we lost the match,” he explained.
Narwal also blamed their quality of raiding on the night. “Our plan was [hinged] on the raiding but it turned back on us. The defence was also not that good today. When I went in to raid, I was thinking about getting points for the team and the match also came close. But because of some errors, we lost,” he concluded.