A second-half blitz from Pawan Kumar Sehrawat saw Gujarat Fortunegiants surrender an 8-point lead and ultimately lose the VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 final 33-38 to Bengaluru Bulls at the DOME@NSCI SVP Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. In the post-match press conference, Gujarat Fortunegiants coach Manpreet Singh felt that his team had the match in the bag for the most part but faltered only in the final minutes and gave up the advantage.

“We played well for the entire match but couldn’t control it in the last 7-8 minutes,” admitted Singh, “The defence, which is one of the strengths of the Gujarat Fortunegiants team right from the start and has won the team a number of matches earlier, completely let us down in the last few minutes. The plans we had made didn’t work.

“I guess we just weren’t destined to get our hands on the VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 trophy.”

While saying that there was no real excuse for Gujarat Fortunegiants to not make it all the way this time, Singh pointed out that the defence had the opponent’s main raiders under check and explained the strategies they had made against them.

“Before the match started we had made our plans and worked on the mistakes we made against Bengaluru Bulls in the previous match,” said Singh, “We knew that Pawan Kumar Sehrawat and Rohit Kumar are the two mainstays of their team and do a bulk of the raiding for them. They are both right raiders and they have the ability to get a touch, jump and turn at will. The plan was to keep the defence very close to Pawan Sehrawat which I think is his biggest weakness. That is exactly how the team played in the beginning without giving him any touch or bonus points. We were definitely able to stem Pawan’s ability to take multiple points in a single raid.

“We didn’t let Rohit Kumar find any rhythm in the entire match either. The plan was that the Corner will immediately jump on him the minute he goes for a touch. We executed that plan well.”

However, it was the raiding unit that let the team down towards the end by not being able to stick to the strategy according to Singh.

“In the last few minutes, where we had a good lead, we had planned to play on a defence of five and keep scoring bonus points through our raiders which the raiders weren’t able to execute,” the coach said before adding, “We couldn’t tackle Pawan towards the end and he kept making very short successful raids which quickly hastened the pace of the game and took it away from us.”

Manpreet Singh, though, didn’t want to take anything away from Bengaluru Bulls’ performance on the night and was quick to congratulate the team on their maiden VIVO Pro Kabaddi title.

“Ultimately none of this matters; what counts is the one who is crowned champion. This is Bengaluru Bulls’ sixth straight season. As a former player, I want to say that if you play for six seasons and then manage to finally win it is a matter of great pride. They have some quality players because of which they were able to reach this stage,” concluded Singh.