Double defending champions Patna Pirates won their third consecutive playoff match to tumble the Bengal Warriors defence and win 47-44 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Thursday to set up a title clash with Gujarat Fortunegiants on Saturday. The night saw another match-winning performance from superstar Pardeep Narwal, who finished with 23 points and inflicted three All-Outs on the Warriors, which even Bengal’s late fightback could not cover up.

At the post-match press conference, coach Ram Mehar Singh seemed relieved after taking his team to their third consecutive VIVO Pro Kabaddi final for a shot at a hat-trick of titles. “These wins give us a lot of confidence. The last three matches were against the top teams in their respective zones. I think the game which we played against Haryana... that kind of game didn’t happen in the entire league. They had a good defence. Pune was also a good team and we had the lead against them and they recovered after that. Pardeep is a player who can change the game at any point,” he said.

The accolades for Patna’s talismanic raider did not end there. When asked how they plan to win against the Fortunegiants, Singh said: “In the matches, we played against Gujarat, their raiders didn’t trouble us that much but their defence played well against us. Now it all depends on my two tigers who are sitting next to me [Pardeep Narwal and Monu Goyat] because if our defence plays the way they have played recently and if Pardeep plays even his 50 percent, then we will win.”

He added: “We hope Pardeep breaks all the records but his focus should also be on the fact that the mistakes which happened against Gujarat in the last match we played against them should not happen in the final.”

Goyat was also all praise for captain Narwal. “There is no captain like him in this league because neither does he take pressure nor he lets the other players come under pressure. He always motivates the players,” he said.