A brilliant second-half performance by Patna Pirates saw them seal a 45-27 victory against Tamil Thalaivas at the Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad on Thursday. At the post-match press conference, Patna Pirates were represented by coach Ram Mehar Singh and captain Pardeep Narwal, while coach E Bhaskaran and captain Ajay Thakur took questions for Tamil Thalaivas.

Patna Pirates

Q1. What was the strategy in the second half that paid off so well for your team?

Ram Mehar Singh: Our raiders were scoring well in any case. Either Pardeep Narwal, Deepak Narwal or Manjeet were getting us points. The defence made a few lapses because of which Tamil Thalaivas were able to bring the game so close after we had taken an initial lead. So the strategy in the second half was that we should tighten the defence and not concede the bonus point, which worked for us.

Q2. How much does the support of other raiders like Deepak Narwal and Manjeet help your game?

Pardeep Narwal: It helps a lot because if I get tackled and I have to sit outside I cannot influence the game in any way.

Q3. What will your strategy be going forward?

Ram Mehar Singh: The strategy is that we won’t be repeating the mistakes we made in our home leg where we ended up losing a few games. Our main aim currently is to qualify for the Super Playoffs.

Tamil Thalaivas

Q1. You were trailing 1-10 in the first half but came back from there. What do you think went wrong in the second half?

E Bhaskaran: We did well till halftime in keeping ourselves in the game. After halftime, the strategies we had made for our raiders and defenders to cover their lead did not work. The defence wasn’t able to keep up in the second half. The raiders kept getting points for us but the defence could have played better.

Q2. Do you think the team is currently too dependent on Ajay Thakur to score?

E Bhaskaran: It’s not like that. While Ajay Thakur is certainly the captain of the team, his game is such that he takes the team ahead with him. Having a star player doesn’t always work. Maybe it will work for a match or two but after that you need the entire team to perform.

Q3. You came back into this game strongly but couldn’t sustain the momentum. Is there anything you have learned from this game?

Ajay Thakur: The decisions we made in haste didn’t pay off. Throughout the match today, when we were hasty in our decision-making where patience was required, it really hurt us.  We should have been a little more patient.